WOMEN OF ISRAEL: JEWISH AND ARAB/PALESTINIAN
Volume 9, No. 2 Fall 1988
bi i iai i
Governors State University, University Park, IL 60466 - 3193
Published under the auspices of the provosts office,
© 1988 governors state university and helen hughes
ISSN 0736 - 4733
I lelen E. Hughes, Editor
Suzanne Oliver, Art Director
Virginia Eysenbach, Editorial Consultant
Claudia Snow, Editorial Assistant
Barbara B. Jenkins, Guest Editor
Glenda Bailey- Mershon, Illinois NOW/National Organization for Women, Oak Park, IL
Donna Bandstra, Healthgroup International, Sherman Oaks, CA
Margaret Brady, Social Sciences, Homewood, IL
Rev. Ellen Dohner Livingston, Religion, Unitarian Society of Ponoma Valley, CA
Rita Durrant, League of American Penwomen, Doylestown, PA
Deborah Garretson, Counseling, Muncie, IN
Temmie Gilbert, Theatre/Media, Governors State University
Linda Grace-Kobas, ]oumalism, University of Buffalo, N.Y.
Harriet Gross, Sociology/Women 's Studies, Governors State University
Flelene N. Guttman, Biological Sciences, Bethesda, M.D.
Bethe Hagens, Anthropology, Governors State University
Barbara Jenkins, Psychology, Governors State University
Young Kim, Communications Science , Governors State University
Joan Lewis, Poetry, Barrington, IL
Betye Saar, Fine Arts, Hollywood, CA
Terri Schwartz, Psychology, Governors State University
Sara Shumer, Political Theory, Haverford College, PA
Lynn Thomas Strauss, Women's Studies: Parenting, Oak Park, IL
Emily Wasiolek, Literature, Prairie State College, Chicago Heights, IL
PAGE TABLE OF CONTENTS
3 Introduction by Barbara B. Jenkins
SECTION I SOCIAL AND POLITICAL STATUS OF WOMEN
5 The Long Road To Equality by Alice Shalvi
8 The Arab Woman in Israel and the Occupied Territories by Amal Khoury
10 The Legal Status of the Druze Woman by Shakieb Serhan
13 Sexual Equality: The Israeli Kibbutz Tests The Theories by Marilyn Safir
17 Violet Khoury, The First (And Sn Far Only) Arab Woman To Be Mayor: A Disillusioned Fighter For Equality,
Justice, Women, and Peace by Barbara B. Jenkins
21 Creating An Oasis of Peace by Barbara B. Jenkins and Nava Sonnenschein
25 How We Started Our Nursery School: Arab Women's Consciousness Raising Group Opens Doors by Mariam
27 A Day At The Shelter by Naomi Feigin
29 Recommended List of Peace and Women's Groups in Israel and Supporting Groups in the United States by
Barbara B. Jenkins
31 Additional Recommended Books by Barbara B. Jenkins
32 Shulamith Koenig
SECTION II ARTS AND CULTURE
33 What Ecclesiastes Meant or On The Function of Dreams, Fiction by Esther Wierzbicki-Ziv
35 Artwork by Arlene Maass
36 The Stone; Fiction by Shulamit Lapid
37 Four Poems by Ada Aharoni
39 A Dream Come True by Magdalena Hafez
42 Women In Israel: A Bibliograpthy by Barbara Conant
44 Editor's Column by Helen E. Hughes
The Creative Woman is published three times a year by Governors
State University. We focus on a special topic in each issue, presented
from a feminist perspective. We celebrate the creative achievements of
women in many fields and appeal to inquiring minds. We publish
fiction, poetry, book reviews, articles, photography and original graphics.
Key to cover photos appears on page 24.
We dedicate this issue of The Creative Woman to
Eve, the first person to choose the acquisition of
new knowledge over blind obedience, and to her
daughters in the Middle East who I hope will
take a fresh, realistic, and thoughtful look at their
situation, free from the prison of the old assump-
tions. Hopefully, in planning for a shared future,
their judgment will be realistic, just, and infused
with compassion, empathy, kindness, coopera-
tion, nurturance, and wisdom, qualities which
have been associated with women. If they are
allowed to do this, they will make a unique con-
tribution and probably ensure our future. At the
least, they will change the directions of the
current governments in the region from whose
leadership they have generally been excluded.
It was learning about groups which encouraged
dialogue between the two national groups that
excited me about taking a sabbatical in Israel. I
was intrigued with what I had heard about Neve
Shalom/Wahat al-Salam Village and the work-
shops they conducted. (They are currently
nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for their
creative efforts.) Contrasted with life in the U.S.
where we often get along by concealing differ-
ences, at NS/WS they discuss the differences,
agree to differ, and treat each others' views with
respect. As a psychologist, leading encounter
groups for people from different cultures, I was
fascinated and wanted to see their methods and
process. I was also curious to learn about the
lives and experiences of the leaders which en-
abled them to be independent of the views held
by members of the mainstream in each of the
I have also been interested in women's rights
and issues affecting our lives so when I was
asked to edit a special issue of TCW on The
Women of Israel, I was thrilled. Both interests
dovetailed, and I spent fascinating hours in
people's homes interviewing them. I am grateful
to them for their friendship, warmth and open-
ness. Sometimes I was surprised by what I
learned as you may be. The material in this
issue comes from people whose friendship I
treasure. I hope the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
will be promptly and justly resolved so that
these bright, creative people can fulfill their
dreams and create a better society.
The major problem is to get people to take a
fresh look at the situation and to bring to their
attention that there is a lot they don't know
about their predicament precisely when they be-
lieve that they fully understand it.
What we hope this issue will give you is a new
or broadened perspective on the situation of the
women of Israel — that the mosaic of the lives of
the women, the short stories, poetry, and art can
help you step beyond familiar history, myths,
and partial truths, to a clearer perception of what
life has been like for Jewish and Palestinian
women living there. Only in having a broader
perspective and considering the truth of what the
other person is saying, instead of automatically
and defensively dismissing the ideas and experi-
ence as wrong, can creative and realistic solu-
tions be found.
Let me give you an example, showing that when
only part of the story is given, the meaning is
changed. When I first toured Israel with the
American Professors for Peace in the Middle
East, we were told what we as Jews had already
heard and read — that Jews had used their chari-
table funds through the Jewish Agency to pur-
chase land from absentee landlords in Israel on
behalf of the Jewish people as a whole. All the
land was legitimately paid for, sometimes twice.
From some Arab speakers, however, we kept
hearing that Arab villages had lost most of their
land. During my six-month stay I kept hearing
the same Arab claims from many different
people. I wondered what the truth was.
Since then I've learned that many Arab villages
which are still in existence (many no longer
exist) did lose about sixty eight percent of their
1947 (pre-State) land through tricky legal means
or unfair laws. If one learns that there were a
number of unjust laws used to seize legitimately
owned land, then the outrage of the Israeli Arab
citizens at their unjust treatment takes on new
While Israel has an inspiring Declaration of Inde-
"The state of Israel. . . will foster the develop-
ment of the country for the benefit of all its in-
habitants; it will be based on freedom, justice
and peace as envisioned by the prophets of
Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social
and political rights to all its citizens irrespective
of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom
of religion, conscience, language, education,
culture. . ." (Declaration of Independence of the
State of Israel, May 14, 1988.)
Women and the Arab minorities are still not
treated equally. Israel has no Constitution
guaranteeing these rights.
Israel, in its first years as a State, encouraged
only Jewish immigration. Jews came as refugees
from Arab countries as well as refugees from the
Holocaust. With barely any funds they at-
tempted to integrate the immigrants with varied
cultures and emotional scars into a new society
needing housing, jobs, and social institutions.
One of the first laws of the new State was the
"Law of Return." All Jews are automatically
granted citizenship if they ask for it. The emo-
tional appeal is that never again will Jews be
persecuted and have no place where they are
welcome. Priority in jobs, housing, and tax
exemptions are given to olim, new immigrants.
This has meant that Israeli Arab citizens have
done without services as moneys have gone to
attract and keep olim. They don't have senior
citizens centers, comparable day-care centers,
adequate schools and educational opportunities,
roads, bus service, jobs, and industry in or near
Arab villages. Arabs are not treated equally
even when they assume equal responsibilities as
citizens, as the Druze and Circassians do with
military service. Their communities do not
receive a comparable portion of revenues and
often lack the services and centers listed above.
In the War of 1948 and the wars that followed in
1956, 1967, and 1973 Israel's borders increased.
Some Arabs fled, some were frightened away
from their homes, and some were expelled.
Ironically they have been forced to experience
what Jews prior to Israel's Statehood experi-
enced; prejudice and persecution wherever they
The economy has generally been desperate. Last
year I found that most adults work a job and a
half to survive. Taxes are high. Life has been a
crisis. Death through wars has been experienced
by most families. Many people ask themselves
whether staying and struggling to create a life
for their families is worth it. The scars and pain
are deep, as is the courage and openness of
many people. A most recent guide to Peace
Networking in Israel New Outlook magazine
(Oct. 1987 & Aug. 1988) lists over ninety groups
concerned with peace, civil rights, civil liberties,
democracy, equality and pluralism. This illus-
trates that many Israelis are deeply concerned
with changing their society in the direction of the
ideals stated in the Declaration of Independence.
For most people Golda Meir is probably the first
image that comes to mind when they think of
Israeli women. She was the tough-minded
grandmother who as Prime Minister articulated
Israel's military and security needs while serving
homemade cake and giving homey advice. She
had come to Israel in 1921 as a pioneer and lived
with her husband Morris at Kibbutz Merhavia.
She was deeply affected by her early years in the
Soviet Union and the pogroms, slaughter of
Jews, she experienced there. She left the security
of life in Milwaukee in order to build a Jewish
homeland, sacrificed her marriage for it, and
later was preoccupied with the rescue of Soviet
Jews as well as the acquisition of arms during
her years as Prime Minister. She was never a
feminist and did not recognize the needs of
Israeli's Arab citizens.
I saw tremendous variety in the roles allowed
and taken by women, especially within the Arab
communities. Some women prepare food for
guests, but are not allowed to sit with them.
They can be found sitting on the floor of their
kitchens eating with the other female relatives.
Other women I met dream of becoming physi-
cians. Some young women at the university said
they think about not marrying because it is hard
for them to imagine maintaining their personal
freedom and professional dreams in the villages
of their husband.
Similarly, there is variety in the life styles and
dreams of Jewish women. The university and
the city have opened many wonderful possibili-
ties for them. The development of themselves as
productive, creative individuals requires
thoughtfulness and openness. Let us hope that
their country and society provide all the women
of Israel with that opportunity.
For further information on additional recommended reading
and a list of Peace and Women's groups in Israel and
supporting U.S. organizations, write to Barbara B. Jenkins,
Governors State University, University Park, IL 60466.
Donations to the New Israel Fund ear marked for particular
groups should be mailed to 111 West 40th St., #2600, New
York, NY 10018.
SOCIAL AND POLITICAL
STATUS OF WOMEN
THE LONG ROAD TO EQUALITY
I met Dr. Alice Shalvi in Chicago when she was on a
speaking tour sponsored by NIF to reach American Jewish
woman and affiliate them with the network with Israeli
women. She is an articulate, vibrant woman who in her
own life combines feminism with Orthodox Judaism. Dr.
Shalvi is professor of English Literature at the Hebrew
University of Jerusalem, chairwoman of the Israel Women's
Network, a coalition and lobbying group dedicated to
advancing the status of women in Israel, and principal of
Pelech, a unique, progressive high-school for girls in
Jerusalem which combines Jewish and general studies, uses
innovative teaching methods and promotes democracy in
the student government. It is one of only two Israeli schools
officially accredited as experimental. In her article she
discusses the Israel Women's Network, which sponsored the
International Conference of Women Writers in 1986 and is
sponsoring a major international conference on Jewish
women in November. BBJ
Regarding the status of women in Israel, as far as
the laws are concerned, we have a number of ex-
tremely progressive laws and have had them
now for a very long time, some for over thirty
years. For example, an equality of sexes law
which is roughly equivalent to the ERA which
we've had since 1951; equal pay for equal work,
which we've had since the beginning of the
1950s; and other similar legislation. We also
have very progressive legislation as far as child
care is concerned. Every woman who is gain-
fully employed outside the home for nine
months before giving birth gets twelve weeks of
fully paid maternity leave. There are other
similar benefits for women who are working
mothers. But where we have not made similar
progress is where general attitudes are con-
cerned. Most people still feel that woman's place
is in the home or, rather, that where there is a
home with a family, it is primarily the woman
who is responsible for the care and welfare of the
home and family. This leads to a situation
where women who are married, and particularly
mothers who are employed outside the home —
as most mothers in the country are — find them-
selves with a double burden to carry, — that of
the home and the workplace. As a result, they
usually opt either for part-time work or very de-
liberately for employment which does not carry
with it the same amount of responsibility, such
as overtime or taking work home or evening
hours, or additional training, which they actually
are equipped to perform but which would then
put an impossible burden on them. So unfortu-
nately, in spite of our very progressive legisla-
tion, as yet we have not got equality of opportu-
nity. We have got equality as far as the books
are concerned, but in actual fact women are not
to be found equally with men in top manage-
ment or, indeed, higher levels of management or
responsibility. We have comparatively few
women in positions of political power; only eight
percent of the members of Knesset, our parlia-
ment, are women. Fewer than ten percent of the
members of local government are women. It
simply is not enough to have progressive legisla-
tion, we also need to do a great deal to educate
Particularly, we need to educate men to an
understanding of the need to share in the bur-
den, in carrying the burden, or the joy, and to be
equally involved in the home and in the family.
Only when we have equality within the family
will we have equality outside it.
Another aspect of our life which is central in
determining the respective stages of life for men
and women, is the defense situation. Although
women serve in the army, they do not do combat
duty. Inequality in carrying the burden of
defense leads not only to a sense of inferiority, of
inadequacy on the part of women, but also on
the other hand, in men, to a sense of superiority,
of machismo — in the sense that they are the ones
who actually defend and protect the country,
and protect the female population. That law, in
addition, excludes women from a really superb
training ground in management, in decision-
making, in planning, which is a very important
area of training. It also excludes women from
the "old boys" network, which the army consti-
To help educate women, I founded the Israel
Women's Network. The Network is a coalition
of women of all political opinions from left to
right (not the extreme right), and of various
degrees of religious commitment and practice.
All of the women are united in their one goal of
advancing the status of women by various
means — whether it's through legislation, or
through court action, or whether through politi-
cal action by getting more women elected to
positions of power. Women need to be part of
the decision-making system.
In terms of court actions effecting change of this
type, two very important court decisions were
recently handed down. One of them related to
the election of Leah Shakdiel, two years ago, to
be a member of the Religious Council of her
town Yeroham. The religious establishment in
the country refused to confirm that election and
it's taken two years of court action for her to be
confirmed in that position. The High Court also
ruled, in a recent case, on something that hap-
pened last September in the Tel Aviv municipal-
ity where the Municipal Council voted to ex-
clude women from the Electoral Board that
appoints the Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv. In both
cases, the courts ruled not only vis-a-vis the
particular, specific case, but they extended their
ruling to say that in all bodies that deal with any
public issue, including the religious issues, there
must always be due representation of women.
This we see as a very significant achievement in
the courts. We also, because of the court action
about a year and a half ago, succeeded in revis-
ing the laws of retirement age and introducing a
law which called for parity in retirement age
between men and women. Also, as a result of
our lobbying, we have the most recent amend-
ment, a very radical amendment, (really a new
version of the Equality of Opportunity in Em-
ployment Act) which extends parental leave to
fathers as well as mothers and extends other
privileges to fathers, such as the right to take sick
leave to care for a sick child. We feel that's a
very significant change towards what we hold as
our ultimate goal, of having the fathers see
themselves and be perceived as equal partners in
homemaking and parenting.
While there haven't been any court cases with
respect to domestic violence, there has been a
very radical change in the attitude of the police
who used to dismiss complaints that women
brought against their husbands. We have had a
number of prosecutions in recent years and that's
a distinct change. Again, it is a result of a great
deal of lobbying and education and publicizing
of the extent of domestic violence. 1 There's
really been a significant change on that issue,
also in the way in which rape complaints are
treated by the police. I think this is really a case
where education and use of the media to publi-
cize our stand has been very effective. We have
been able to get increasing media coverage. At
the beginning we had a very tough time particu-
larly with television. There's been a very dra-
matic change in printed media coverage of
women's issues from virtually nil, about three or
four years ago, or at the best coverage on the
women's page or the home page, to front page
treatment. For example, both of the High Court
decisions this week, particularly the Leah
Shakdiel case, made the front pages of all the
papers, with very big write-ups, editorials, and
so on. Television has been slower. We have
only one channel on our national television
which is state television and the people in charge
there are almost exclusively men. Even there, as
a result of ongoing, very persistent lobbying and
representation, including requesting a meeting
which we were granted with the head of televi-
sion and then with all the heads of all the vari-
ous departments, we have begun to make a dent.
Recently there has been far more coverage than
there used to be of women, and women-related
issues. It is certainly slower on television, but
even there we can point to some change.
With respect to women going in to testify in
cases of their own divorce, women do testify and
certainly they appear in the courts in divorce
cases. Women can't serve as witnesses in the
rabbinical courts, but actually where divorce or a
disappearing husband is concerned, even halacha,
Jewish law, permits women to give evi-
dence in those specific cases. There has not been
any problem as far as giving evidence is con-
cerned. The problems we discerned are primar-
ily problems of discrimination — differences of
attitude and degrees of sympathy on the part of
the rabbinical judges all of whom are men — in
addressing themselves to men and women
respectively. There's a greater degree of sympa-
thy for men who are in trouble than there is for
In Israel, in the summer of 1984, there was a
meeting between American and Israeli Jewish
women. From that dialogue of American /Israeli
women, the Network grew. It was a very excit-
ing dialogue in which about twenty women from
the United Stated including Betty Freidan, Cyn-
thia Ozick, Elizabeth Holtzman, Blu Greenberg,
and a number of others took part. It was a very
fruitful exchange of ideas and experiences. Both
sides gained a very much needed boost.
There will be another international meeting on
the empowerment of Jewish women to which we
are expecting delegates from about sixty coun-
tries, including the third world countries and
Latin America, and Eastern Europe. We are very
anxious to have contact with women who are
active in the feminist world in order to learn
from their experience. We have an overseas
membership now and anyone who's interested in
joining us should contact us at POB 3171, Jerusa-
lem. We are also very much in need of financial
help and donations can be made through the
New Israel Fund in New York. 2 We need finan-
cial support as well as support in the form of
.advice, help, materials for our resource center.
We are creating what is becoming the most
important resource center in terms of library and
newspaper clippings and other materials. Every
time I go to the States I come back, as I did this
time, with armfuls of materials from organiza-
tions such as NOW or the Women's Political
Caucus. We can learn a lot from women all over
the world. We certainly need financial support
in establishing such services as our legal defense
fund, in establishing a health education center,
an area that's very much neglected. Women's
health is an area where most people, the doctors
and the patients, are extremely ignorant. We
could also use help in lobbying various organiza-
tions abroad to be more involved with women's
issues in Israel, I'm thinking of organizations
such as Hadassah, WLZO (Women's International
Zionist Organization), Pioneer Women, which
exist in the Diaspora as well as here, and of
course the Jewish Agency.
As far as getting women listed in the political
parties, we're engaged in training the women in
assertiveness, in self-confidence, in giving actual
training courses, and other help, such as provid-
ing fact sheets to candidates on women-related
issues. We're dealing with the candidates and
potential candidates on the one hand, and we are
also lobbying the various parties with a demand
which has been taken up by all the women's
organizations here, of whom there are a lot of
very powerful ones, that each party set aside a
quota of 40 percent of the places on the lists for
women candidates. Now the response to that
has not been much; no party has acceded to the
40 percent demand, but it has led to more con-
sciousness of the need to establish some kind of
quota. Most of the parties are going for 25 per-
cent, which certainly would be better than what
we've had in the past. 3
We are also conducting consciousness-raising
programs. We have meetings all over the coun-
try, simply to inform women of the major issues
that need to be addressed, how they can be
addressed, what needs to be done, and how it
can be done. Consciousness-raising is very
important, as well as the development of skills,
particularly this electoral year. We're also en-
gaged in health education, teaching women how
to speak to doctors, and what they have a right
to expect in the way of health care. On the legal
issues, we're engaged in educating women on
what their rights are. We run a hot line on dis-
crimination in the workplace and also a hot line
for health problems. And both of those serve as
educational services as well.
Israeli Arab women are members of the Net-
work, so they are equal members. We have a
number of joint functions; we had a symposium,
with four Arab women participating, on "Arab
Women in Israel." In most cases, because they
live in separate communities, they prefer to set
up their own framework. We do collaborate
with them and we work on ad hoc alliances and
networking. We have had a lot of cooperation
with Arab women here. There were also some
contacts between some individual members and
Palestinian Arab women, the Palestinian women
living in the Occupied Territories, in the past,
but those certainly are not being conducted at all
publicly or formally in the current situation.
I think we're optimistic. We're hoping for a
significant change, certainly in attitudes, and if
we don't do as well as we hope in this election,
then in four years' time we hope we'll do better.
Footnotes for Alice Shalvi article added by Barbara B.
1 To give you an idea of the magnitude of the problem I
read a statistic a couple years ago in a New Israel Fund
newsletter that there were estimates of 20,000 battered
Israeli women out of a population of four million. — BBJ
2 Overseas membership, which is tax deductible through
the New Israel Fund, is $25.
3 Alice's hopes for more women listed by the political
parties for the Knesset were not realized this time.
Neither of the two major parties - - Labor on the left and
Herut(part of the Likud) block on the right - - had
adequate numbers of women.
The revolution seems to have passed over the Labour
Party's women's faction altogether, which remained
small. In view of the party's past historical accomplish-
ments and its efforts to produce an authentic list
representing all sectors of Israeli society, it is somewhat
absurd that women comprise less than 10 percent of its
The Jerusalem Post, June 25, 1988
The Herut list (merged with Liberals and two smaller
parties to form Likud list) contains not a single woman
or non-Jew in what are considered electable places.
The Jerusalem Post, July 16, 1988
THE ARAB WOMAN IN ISRAEL
AND THE OCCUPIED
Amal Khoury received her degree in law from Hebrew
University. As an advocate, she has handled cases for Arab
and Jewish women. She requested to be a judge on the
Shalom Court, the lower court, to handle civil and criminal
cases. She has a daughter, Marianna, who is two and a
newborn son. She received feelers from three political
parties to be listed, but declined the opportunities to run for
the Knesset this time around because she wants to be with
her family in the new year, and she has her law office, her
job. She said that maybe she would be interested in being
listed in the next election or the election in eight years. I
said that I was hoping she would run for the Knesset this
year and that she would bring her babies with her. I
imagined her giving them to colleagues to play with while
she made speeches and telling unruly members to behave
themselves in front of children. We laughed, and she said it
was a good opinion.
Her husband, Geries, is a Melkite Catholic priest who is also
a developmental, school, and clinical psychologist. BBJ
The Arab woman has the same problem as
women all over the world. Society does not
accept her unless she is married. And if she's
married and has children, she has to find a job
suitable for her role as mother/ wife, which
means only four or five possible hours a day out
of the house.
The solution is two-fold: to receive more under-
standing and help from the husband and to get
more assistance from the state — to provide day-
care centers with good teachers and provisions
for Arab children. In Nazareth and Kfar Yasif
there are day-care programs, but not in many
other villages. Many mothers with young chil-
dren leave their babies in private houses. We do
this with Marianna.
Arab women are doubly discriminated against —
by men and by Jews. The discrimination in the
Arab sector is the most difficult obstacle to over-
come. The Arab man is educated to be the
authoritative one, and the woman to be the
helper. The problem is also with the woman
herself. She is educated to be passive. It's easier
for her to let the man (her father, her husband,
her brothers) decide for her. My women col-
leagues' political and career aspirations are often
not taken seriously. When and if they do finally
assume some sort of role in the Jewish state, the
women are mere "decorations" rather than
decision-makers with a real chance of influencing
Geries and Amal Khoury
society. In addition to the social and ideological
barriers that discourage Arab women from
participating in politics, the practical problem of
balancing career and family seems more difficult
for them than for their Jewish counterparts, due
to pressure to marry early, have many children,
and raise them at home (due to the paucity of
For a woman to achieve a position of power she
must be twice as good and work twice as hard as
a man. To play politics women must learn the
rules of the game. They have to become edu-
cated, take advantage of their rights and get
involved. I claim that women who do not be-
long to a political party cannot on their own
power be elected to the Knesset. This is the
major problem. We have women who are quali-
fied to serve as Knesset members. The problem
is which political party or group women should
choose to participate in. There are women in the
Arab sector who can do it. The proof of this
analysis is that no woman was ever elected to
municipal or national office with the exception of
one woman, Violet Khoury, my aunt, who was
elected as head of the municipal government of
Kfar Yasif. I believe people like me need to be
inside. If we give up, all the extremists will win.
On the other hand, Like every other Arab, I can't
feel comfortable participating in the political
institutions of the state as long as Palestinians
suffer. Although we care about the state and its
defense, we can't forget that we are Palestinians.
The next obstacle is the position of the Arab
minority in the State of Israel. We know in
general that Arabs have difficulty in being
elected to the Knesset or to public office. We are
in a very sensitive position as far as the Palestin-
ian-Israeli conflict is concerned: there are those
who define themselves as Palestinians and citi-
zens of Israel, and there are others who define
themselves as Israeli citizens without indicating
that they belong to the Palestinian people.
To belong to a Zionist party that proclaims the
right of return only for Jews is a little difficult
since it is also possible for us to make the same
claim. If the Jews have a right to return, after
2,000 years in the Diaspora, in exile, we can
extend the same right to Palestinians who have
been gone since 1948. A solution would be for
them to come back to the new state if it will be
established in Gaza or the West Bank and /or to
pay them compensation for the loss of property
here in Israel. So in this regard, it is difficult to
find a Jewish- Arab political party that recognizes
this principle of claims. What is left is to choose
a non-Zionist political party. However, no such
party has so far existed in Israel. There is a
recent attempt by an Arab Knesset member, MK
Abd-el Wahab Darousha, to establish a purely
Arab party, the Arab Democratic Party. It is just
starting and will require a lot of effort to prove
itself, nor do I know if it will be possible in the
future for this party to fulfill the hopes of the
Arabs in Israel. I hope it will.
The position of the Arab woman in the Territo-
ries is somewhat different from those in Israel in
that on one hand she is saved from the conflict of
trying to live a common life that includes Jews
and Arabs. As far as we are concerned, as Arabs
living in Israel, we must live in a situation of
coexistence and mutual respect. In the Territo-
ries Arabs can deny the idea of annexation or the
idea of a common destiny between them and the
Jews living in the Territories. On the other hand,
right now they are under very difficult condi-
tions because of the Intifada , the Uprising.
Women are forced to go into the streets to pro-
tect the children on the way to school and so
they don't get arrested in the middle of the
night. In my opinion they are engaged in a day
to day struggle for existence so that women in
the Territories nowadays are in a position of
being very active and aggressive. In my opinion
the women and children run the Intifada because
the men are not allowed to engage in political
activities and are busy supporting the family
while quite a few youths are already under
arrest. So the women carry all the burden and
responsibility since they are in a position to do
so. In my opinion since the women in the Terri-
tories have the major responsibility, they should
be recognized, respected, and given credit for
Translated from the Hebrew by Samir Miari, Ph.D. and
Efraim Gil, Ph.D.
THE LEGAL STATUS OF THE
* Mr. Shakieb Serhan, advocate (attorney), is a Druze from
Moghar village in the Galilee living in Jerusalem. He
received his first (bachelors) degree in law from Hebrew
University and has continued there for his second (masters)
degree in law which he expects to receive next year. He has
been the Parliamentary Assistant to MK Zaidan Atashi, one
of two Druze members of the Knesset (Israeli parliament).
He has been an Arab leader of Arab-Jewish dialogue groups
at Hebrew University, an active member in the Association
for Civil Rights in Israel, and a member in the Israel
Interfaith Committee. He had been a trainee at Neve
Shalom /Wahat al-Salam. He plans to come to the U.S. for
his third degree (doctorate) in law.
According to an Israeli document, Statistics Data,
published by the Office of the Prime Minister,
Statistics Division, Jerusalem, 1987, Israel's non-
Jewish population is 792,000; 77% are Moslem,
13.5% are Christians, and 9.5% are Druze.
The Druze in the Middle East live in the north of
Israel, Lebanon and Syria. It is not uncommon
for Israeli Druze families to have relatives in
Lebanon and Syria.
There are about 60,000 Druze who are Israeli
citizens who live in villages on the Carmel range
(near Haifa) and in the Galilee area, where
settlements date back some 800 years, and an-
other 15,000 non-citizens on the Golan Heights in
what had been Syria.
The Druze people are a religious sect, and have
not developed themselves as a nation. There is
no unified opinion about the time of the origin of
the religion. Some historians claim that the
Druze religion separated from Islam in the tenth
century during the Fatimic period in Egypt.
Others, with a historical and theological point of
view, claim that the Druze religion and people
have existed from the beginning of time. The
details of the Druze religion are kept secret.
Only the most well-informed Druze (okkal) , as
opposed to the uninformed (gohall ) , are entitled
to study the religious books.
Intermarriage between a Druze and a non-Druze
is forbidden. In a case of intermarriage, the
social punishment is exile from the Druze com-
munity. A person who was born to Druze
parents isn't allowed to convert from his Druze
religion to another religion. Non-Druze can't
convert to the Druze religion. Druze are a closed
In this article I will discuss the status of the
Druze woman according to the personal (family)
laws of the Druze. Israel does not have a
Constitution and the laws pertaining to personal
(family) matters have been left to the control of
the individual religions.
Eligibility to Marry
A Druze girl must be age 17 before she is permit-
ted to marry the boy of her choice. He must be
at least 18 years old. An exception may be made
by the Cadi madhab (religious leader) who has
the authority to permit the marriage of a 15 year
old girl if (a) there is a medical report proving
she has reached puberty and (b) there is agree-
ment of her guardian. The marriages of 15 year
old girls occur in Lebanon and Syria. In Israel
the civil court is authorized to permit marriage
only after the girl is age 16.
In principle there is a prohibition against the
marriage of a girl with a mental deficiency or a
contagious disease (i.e., venereal disease, lep-
rosy), but in practice this prohibition is not
enforced. No medical exam is required before
Prohibitions in Marriage
The marriage of a woman during the period of
edda (a four month period of time a wife should
wait after the divorce or death of her husband) is
null and void. Polygamy is forbidden. A di-
vorced woman cannot remarry her previous
husband. A woman is forbidden to marry a
blood relative of hers or of her previous hus-
band. The term blood relative applies to her
father, grandfather, brother, uncle, brother's and
sister's sons and brother's and sister's son's
child, sons, and grandchild. Among her
husband's relatives are included her brother-in-
law, father-in-law, the sons of her husband from
a previous marriage.
The marriage is a contract between husband and
wife, and demands absolute agreement from
both parties. The contract has to be drawn up in
writing before witnesses acceptable to the couple.
The period of the contract begins on the day of
its being drawn up. During the period of the
marriage each side is obligated to respect the
other on the basis of absolute equality.
Engagement is the period before marriage when
each is permitted to become familiar with the
characteristics of the other. They are not permit-
ted to socialize before engagement. The engage-
ment period provides a source of ultimate secu-
rity for the marriage since each side is permitted
to renege on the marriage. If her betrothed
changes his mind, she does not have to return
the engagement gift. While I don't have fixed
data I believe that it rarely happens that a fiance
changes his mind. The main purpose of engage-
ment is to know deeply each other. If one
reaches the decision that the other doesn't "fit",
then the engagement will be broken.
The husband is required to provide for his wife
and family the food, clothing, dwelling, medical,
and household help in the event that his wife is
physically unable to see to household duties
herself, or has a particularly respectable status to
uphold. The maintenance fees will be decided
according to mutual agreement between the
spouses. If no agreement is reached, it becomes
the decision of the Cadi Madhab. If the husband
does not pay the fees, or disappears, the wife is
permitted to borrow money, and the husband is
responsible to cover the debt.
The marriage contract can be broken only if the
Cadi Madhab issues a divorce decree. The
husband may not divorce his wife without her
consent. The consent of both parties is required
for marriage, and consequently also for divorce.
A divorced woman may never remarry her
previous husband. The justification for divorce
is (a) marital infidelity, (b) leaving home with the
absolute intention of not coming back, (c) suffer-
ing from mental illness, etc. If there is no justifi-
cation for divorcing, the woman is entitled to
receive compensation for financial, moral, mate-
rial damages, and defamation of her reputation.
A significant change in the Druze personal laws,
in comparison to other Semitic religions, is that
the Druze woman has the right to divorce her
husband under certain conditions: if, for ex-
ample, the husband suffers from mental illness,
leprosy, impotence, if he has served five years or
more of a ten year jail sentence, if there is a
prolonged disappearance, or if the wife is re-
volted by her husband.
Divorce rarely occurs in the Druze community.
Custody of Children
According to Israeli law the husband and wife
are the natural guardians of the children. In the
event of the death of one of them, the survivor is
the natural guardian. Generally, according to
personal and traditional laws, the custody agree-
ment must take into consideration the good of
the child. In the case of divorce the period of
maintenance of the children by the mother ends
when the child reaches the age of seven for boys
and nine for girls. At those ages the father is
obligated to receive the children.
The Court will decide with whom the children
live and on visitation rights. A woman can be a
Cadi Madhab .
The father is responsible for paying for the
maintenance of his children until they reach the
age of eighteen for boys and until they marry for
girls. In the event of the death of the father, or if
he is unable to support them, the responsibility
falls on the mother. If neither is able to support
the children, the responsibility falls on blood
relatives in accordance with the order of inheri-
tance rights within the family.
The responsibility for providing for indigent
parents falls on the child with means, without
consideration of age or sex. In the event that
there are no children with means, the responsi-
bility falls on relatives according to the order of
Wills and Inheritance
The Druze woman is entitled to will her estate to
anyone she so desires, even outside of the Druze
community. On the other hand she is able to in-
herit together and equally with her brothers.
The equalitarian approach with respect to inheri-
tance rights in the personal laws of the Druze is
outstanding and well accepted.
It is clear according to the personal laws of the
Druze that in certain areas there is a completely
equalitarian approach to the Druze woman and
her rights: property, cultural, civil, and social.
She is the sole determiner of whether she wishes
to utilize her right to divorce her husband. She
is entitled to receive maintenance from her
husband for herself and her children. She re-
ceives custody of the children, and her male
children are obligated to support her in the event
that her husband is unable to do so. In these
circumstances it is clear that there is a leaning in
her favor in terms of family obligations. In terms
of marital rights there is also a leaning in her
favor. The Druze community can be proud of
these achievements since it has surpassed other
modern societies by thousands of years. (Mr.
Serhan believes that the Druze religion has
existed from the beginning of time, and its
principles are unchangeable.)
We see a similarity between the rights given
Druze women and the practices of ancient pre-
patriarchal peoples. Both recognize women as
individuals with specific guaranteed rights. This
is in contrast with the Babylonians and Canaan-
ites who considered women as property. Later
on, the Greeks considered a woman as inferior to
a man in every respect — only fit to serve him
and bear his children.
The rights given the Matriarchs of Israel by the
Hurrian people, who lived north of Canaan in
what is now Israel, included:
l.The view of women as individuals with minds
of their own and with guaranteed specific rights;
2.The right to choose whom they would marry —
at least giving assent to a marriage proposal;
3.The right to change the inheritance or alter it;
4.Protection against divorce and protection of
their children to inherit even if they are not first-
5.They are capable of talking with God who is
willing to discuss with them matters of interest
6.And God tells the husband to listen to his wife.
Interestingly, the Druze live in the same geo-
graphic area. Since the view of women and their
rights held by the Hurrians was in sharp contrast
Druze girls, Yarka
with the view held by other tribes in the region
which perceived women as property and inferior
to men, it may be that the Druze descended from
or were strongly influenced by the Hurrian
people, a people more ancient than the Jews,
who contributed the four Matriarchs of Israel.
Sarah, Rebecca, Leah and Rachel brought to the
Jewish people from their experience in the
culture of their birth a perception of themselves
as strong, assertive, capable of independent
judgment, worthy of self respect, holding specific
rights, and men's equal with respect to commu-
nicating with God.
Further evidence from tablets at Elam reveals
that as late as 2000 B.C.E. descent was still
matrilineal. A married woman might refuse to
make her bequest jointly with her husband and
pass her entire property on to her daughter.
Humane customs and laws, such as the require-
ment that those in need be helped by the com-
munity, also date back to the pre-patriarchal so-
cieties. Sumerian tablets record that Nidaba the
Goddess was known as "Giver of Law," "Giver
of Justice," and "Giver of Mercy." There may
have been an early codification of laws, and
possibly a judicial system of some complexity in
which Sumerian priestesses perhaps adjudicated
disputes and administered justice. "Archaeologi-
cal records of the Middle Eastern city of Nimrud. .
show that. . . some women still served as
judges and magistrates in courts of law."
(Source: Riane Eisler, The Chalice and The Blade,
1987.) Is the remarkable equality provided to
Druze women a relic of an earlier codification,
dating from pre-patriarchal times? In the cradle
of civilization, was God a woman? BBJ & HEH
(Source: Sondra Henry and Emily Taitz (1983) Written Out
Of History: Our Jewish Foremouthers.)
SEXUAL EQUALITY: THE ISRAELI
KIBBUTZ TESTS THE THEORIES
Dr. Safir, a clinical psychologist, has been one of the leaders
of the women's movement in Israel since the early 1970s.
The seminars which she offered were well attended by Arab
and Jewish women. Since then she has established an
excellent Women's Studies Program at Haifa University
which she is trying to broaden by founding a Women's
Center to address the needs of disadvantaged Arab and
Jewish women who might never attend a university. Kidma
(Project for the Advancement and Involvement of Women)
aims to accelerate the process of women's advancement by
involving her in the Israeli community and society and
strengthening her self image and motivation. This creative
outreach program could dramatically improve the status of
women in Israel; bringing in those most likely to be shut
out. She desperately needs outside funding for this effort. BBJ
Is human nature biologically determined or is
human behavior determined basically by envi-
ronmental influences? This old question can be
discussed by reflecting on some of the research
of Israeli women living in kibbutzim. The coun-
try of Israel is unique in that people from diverse
cultures and ethnic groups founded and settled
there. The position of women in Israel has been
a focus of study by social scientists in more
Konrad Lorenz's studies (1963-66) on the evolu-
tion of the behavior of animals has influenced
psychologists and sociobiologists. Social struc-
tures such as are found on the kibbutz are inter-
preted by Tiger and Shepher (1975) as biologi-
cally programmed. Biological differences are
seen as causing different behavior in men and
women, i.e., woman as nurturer and man as
hunter, provider. A reanalysis of data from the
kibbutz by Spiro (1980) leads him to believe
there are inborn differences between men and
On the other hand, this view is not held to be
valid by proponents of the view that human
behavior is flexible and not linked to human
biology. The importance of the environment in
pre- and post-natal life is, according to John
Money (eg., 1963, 1970), a determining factor in
the development of male/ female behavior. In
fact, a study done by Money and Ehrhardt (1974)
found that boys and girls raised opposite to their
gender displayed behavior of the sex in which
they were raised. The psychosocial environment,
they concluded, greatly influences sexual identi-
fication and behavior. For the most part, Mac-
coby and Jacklin (1974) have concluded that sex
differences in regard to skills, interests, and
activities are fiction and unsupported by research
The collective life on a kibbutz, a unique way of
life, inspired Tiger and Shepher to ask:
What happens to women who entrust their
children's care to communal nurseries from the
age of two to six weeks on? What happens to
women who are supported not by the husbands,
but by the collective to which they belong? To
women whose communities are ideologically
devoted to equality and for decades have
stressed the ideal of sexual equality?. . . To
women whose food is cooked in communal
kitchens and whose clothing is cleaned in com-
These questions are asked by scientists who see
the kibbutz as a social experiment in which the
person's relationships to money and position,
social equality and relationships in the family are
These authors concluded that the experiment
failed to ensure the sexual equality of women.
They blame this result on women's innate na-
ture, implying that the female biological pro-
gramming is the cause of the failure. Studies
show that life for women on kibbutzim has
steadily become more traditional no matter what
opportunities are offered. Kibbutz women per-
form increasingly more service jobs from one
generation to the next and want to be involved
in the raising of their children. More than ever
before mothers are bringing their children into
the home rather than having them stay at the
The failure in kibbutzim to establish sexual
equality is noted by Tiger and Shepher who
noted extreme polarization of labor by sex over
four generations of kibbutz members. Polariza-
tion is worse for those who have always lived in
the kibbutz as compared to those who joined as
Men primarily perform jobs in agriculture,
management, and industry whereas women who
have agricultural jobs are given the "easier" jobs.
This is also true of women's jobs in industry
where administrative tasks include the routine
jobs of typist, clerk, and secretary.
The majority of the jobs in service and education
are held by women; work with infants and
preschoolers is exclusively done by women.
What jobs men do have in education are as
teachers; they are never child care workers.
Cooking, child care in the children's houses,
laundry are all exclusively women's jobs. Men
who perform service jobs do maintenance work.
Usually few women are active in politics, man-
agement of kibbutzim, or initiate and manage
inter-kibbutz activities. Men do jobs that are tra-
ditionally women's only when they are older and
less productive. The women who work in
traditional men's jobs leave the job when their
first child is bom.
The conclusions that Tiger and Shepher (1975)
reach are a point of contention in their study.
They state that the kibbutzim's failure to estab-
lish sexual equality is the result of the innate
biological nature of women.
But was this "social experiment" adequately
designed? To understand it we must examine
the social environment in which the kibbutzim
developed and we must study the history of the
kibbutz as an ideal, a dream of the ghettos of
Eastern Europe in the early years of this century.
The kibbutz was originally visualized as a means
of self-determination within a socialist communal
structure. Zionist groups planned to return to
the motherland and live in communal Utopias.
They aspired to create a society in which all
would be equal, where people would be sup-
plied according to their needs, where the group
would be more important than the individual.
Traditions such as marriage and family ties were
considered reactionary and rejected as a threat to
the common good.
In the early kibbutzim marriage and child bear-
ing were prohibited (Talmon, 1972; Shepher,
1968). Couples were expected to refrain in
public from acting any different towards each
other than they did towards anyone else.
Couples never worked together or took time off
together. These rules were especially necessary
since in the early days of kibbutz life men out-
numbered women two to one. Other prohibi-
tions of family ties were deeply rooted on the
structure of kibbutz life.
Kibbutzim were not only agricultural societies
but also military posts for defense of self and
country in a hostile environment:
"Each new settlement marked a further
step into more outlying and more arid
regions. . . the kibbutzim overcame al-
most insurmountable difficulties by
channeling most of their labor and capital
into production. Centralized communal
organization of the non-productive
branches of the economy enabled them to
reduce investment in these spheres . . ."
Even though there was a desperate need for
women workers to do what was traditionally
men's work, early women settlers had to over-
come male prejudice to be allowed to do men's
The Zionist women's movement was analyzed
by Daphna Izraeli (1981) revealing early concepts
prevalent in Palestine from 1911-1927. The fol-
lowing were attitudes about sexual equality at
"Labor Zionism was ideologically commit-
ted to social equality and did not concern
itself with the issues of women's emancipa-
These early pioneers to Palestine had to over-
come physical and mental barriers:
"The move to Palestine required determi-
nation and idealism from all the immi-
grants, but even more so from the women.
They had to combat the traditionally
stronger social control exerted by parents
over daughters, the stigma attached to a
single woman leaving home, especially in
the company of a group of men, as well as
the physical hardship of the passage itself. . .
they did not expect to struggle for
women's places, they thought equality
would be an accompanying feature of their
move to the new homeland." (Izraeli,
When the women reached Palestine their most
urgent need was for employment. The Jewish
farmers that were already established in Pales-
tine ostracized these women because of their
willingness to do men's work which was seen as
Early pioneers were additionally hampered by
not having the skills for agricultural living.
These settlers moved to the unsettled north, es-
tablishing a communal life where everyone
The settlers had to do two things. First, they had
to conquer the land to become self-sufficient.
These young idealists, none of whom were edu-
cated for their agricultural labors and with their
idealism about equality intact, divided the work
so that women were assigned to domestic labor
while men did the productive work. Both men
and women assumed without question their
Ironically, the women were little prepared for
domestic work. Most of them came from fami-
lies where servants did this work. Eventually
they became frustrated with the male attitudes
that claimed they were unfit for men's work.
The gap in ability widened between the two
sexes as men received more training from Pales-
tinian agronomists. The vanguard group had to
prove that the commune was economically
viable. Viewing women as less productive, they
feared that their participation in agriculture
would result in a deficit, and so women were
confined to more 'suitable' jobs. The same men
who had demanded that the farmers of the first
wave overlook economic considerations on
ideological grounds and preferred them to Arab
laborers, accepted only one to three women into
a group with up to 30 male members on the
grounds that women were economically less
Since there were so few women to do domestic
work, it was impossible for them to be rotated
out of their service jobs, alternating between
house and field work. In 1912 only thirty
women of 522 Jewish laborers were working in
communes. By WWI this number rose to 1,500
workers and 200 were women, an increase of 13
Although domestic work was physically difficult,
the status jobs were those held by men. Their
work was considered productive whereas do-
mestic services were viewed as non-productive.
Of the service jobs, cooking was considered of
higher value than other service jobs, but ranked
lower than any of the jobs men did which were
Production of field crops had the highest status
since it led to economic independence. This
pioneering ideology led to the exclusion of
women from primary roles in commune life.
Three issues were the focal points for dissatisfac-
tion among the women: status, participation,
and attitudes among workers. So totally were
women shut out of the decision process by their
low status that Zionist Organization contracts
were negotiated yearly without their input. Men
reasoned that the women were working, not for
the Zionist Organization, but for the men.
Women resented this male attitude which de-
prived them of an equal partnership in work and
decision-making. Women were further excluded
by the fact that they didn't know Hebrew, the
official language of the Diaspora and the early
In spite of the discouraging situation, the women
were hopeful of change. Women felt that with
training in manual labor, they could perform as
well as the men. They felt they would be able to
outgrow their passive dependent behavior as
their confidence grew in their ability. (Izraeli,
Furthermore, women noted that to achieve
economic equality, they must also forego, as
much as possible, wearing feminine clothing and
jewelry, and using cosmetics. Any outward
feminine appearance calling attention to sexual
differences was interpreted as female and infe-
Joseph Baratz (1954) makes reference to these
struggles. He reported that all the men worked
happily from the beginning, but the women were
"One day they came to us and said, 'Listen
to us. We came to this country with the
one idea in our heart — to work and to live
with nature. But what now? You men are
happy, you like your work, but we are
worse off than our mothers were in their
small towns. What do you yourselves
think of it? Should we continue in this
way, with this difference between your lot
and ours?' We couldn't understand them.
How else could it be? But our women
gave us no rest. They insisted that things
must change. In the end, the women won
the right to work the land, and even to
The women pioneers of the third wave (1919 to
1923) had been brought up in and by the Russian
Revolution at a time when women were occupy-
ing important economic and cultural positions.
Miriam Schlimowitch (Shazar, 1975) described
her bitter disappointment when she perceived
how small the role was for the women and how
weak their influence on the common life. The
women formed their own communes; there was
even a farm, completely run by women, carrying
on without male help on their own initiative and
doing as well as the men. She writes, "But in
spite of all the hardships and suffering, the work
had life and content. . . Before long, our settle-
ment had made a name for itself as a model
farm. The women believed in themselves and in
the path they were making for the women of Pal-
The feminization process on the kibbutz began
with the communal care of children, with child-
rearing an exclusively feminine job, and as
more children were born in the kibbutz, the
process by which women left production jobs to
lower-status service jobs accelerated.
Today, most women in the kibbutz work in jobs
that are analogous to traditional housework. As
an alternative to Tiger, Shepher, and Spiro's
conclusions, we can hypothesize that with this
movement to nurturant roles, a certain cognitive
dissonance came into play. To justify the time
absorbed by childcare tasks, women themselves
began to increase their identification with tradi-
tional feminine roles by giving them more posi-
tive, attractive images. Kibbutz women who are
unsuccessful in reducing their dissonance by
increasing the values of their work should theo-
retically experience psychological distress. This
is what has in fact happened. Talman (1972)
found that women were more likely than men to
leave the kibbutz, were more likely to be dissatis-
fied with their jobs, and experienced more stress.
While social and sexual equality was an ideal,
the planning to create the necessary conditions
for equality was not developed. The female
pioneers had to fight to gain equal standing in
the kibbutz, and psychological barriers to equal-
Current awareness of these pressures is growing.
For example, the Kibbutz Artzi Movement
passed a resolution in 1980 encouraging men to
fill 20 percent of the jobs in early childhood
education. Sex typing of jobs will also decrease
when work that has little intrinsic interest (i.e.,
laundry, dining hall service, clothing warehouse)
is really temporary and all members rotate
through them for short periods. Finally, when
women and men are psychologically free and
able to move into what were considered mascu-
line or feminine jobs according to interest and
not sex, the goal of sexual equality will be
Israel has a particularly strong need for educa-
tion in Womens' Studies. Outside the country's
borders, people think of Israel as the epitome of
women's rights because of women's participation
in the army, myths about the kibbutz women
and the election of Golda Meir as Prime Minister.
Inside Israel myths also exist. Women are still
unaware that inequalities in educational and
occupational opportunities persist.
Some examples from contemporary Israeli life
point to the reality behind the myths:
^Research studies suggest that discriminatory
attitudes and practices in Israel affect children
from a early age. Safir (1986) and Lieblich (1984)
found that young Israeli girls do not perform as
well as their male counterparts on intelligence
tests. Furthermore, discrepancies in scores show
up at an earlier age in Israel than in the United
States. When such discrepancies appear in the
United States, young males score higher on
performance and math tests, while young fe-
males score higher on verbal tests. In Israel,
however, males scored higher in both areas. In-
vestigators believe this may result from teachers
(and parents) reinforcing male academic progress
over female. Without stimulation for education,
women will be forced to remain at a distinct
disadvantage in modern society.
"Inequalities in the Workplace: In Israel, women
comprise 38% of the workforce. While the
majority of women work part-time, 76% of
women with more than 16 years of education
work full-time. Women have not always enjoyed
equal protection under the law. For example,
women have higher than average level of educa-
tion but earn less for the same jobs than men.
Until April 1, 1988 (in the adoption of wide
ranging equal opportunities at work law) women
were not allowed to work at night unless the
employer fulfilled certain requirements, usually
involving additional expenses. As a result,
women were discriminated against in certain
fields of work.
Undoubtedly, the position of women in Israel is
also influenced by the status of women in tradi-
tional Judaism. The "woman of valor" is por-
trayed as focusing her efforts on housekeeping
and child care. However, economic and attitudi-
nal changes have caused more and more reli-
gious women to enter the workforce and to
expand their horizons in Jewish study.
Adapted from a chapter in Vol. VI, Kibbutz Studies Book
Series, Joseph Raphael Blasi, ed., Norwood, PA, 1983.
THE FIRST (AND SO FAR ONLY)
ARAB WOMAN TO BE MAYOR:
A DISILLUSIONED FIGHTER FOR
EQUALITY, JUSTICE, WOMEN,
Barbara B. Jenkins
I wanted to meet Violet Khoury from the mo-
ment I heard that there had been an Arab
woman who had been mayor of a large Arab
village. She had been elected to the Local Coun-
cil in 1969, served as head of the Council (mayor)
for three years l , and later as Vice-Mayor from
1979-83, when she immigrated to Canada.
On the evening of May 17, 1987 Dr. Vivian Gold,
a friend and fellow psychologist also interested
in meeting Violet, drove me to Kfar Yasif, (pro-
nounced Kofer Yasif), an Arab village located in
the western Galilee near Acre (Akko, Akka). By
prearrangement we met Dr. Geries and Amal
Khoury outside the village and followed them
through narrow, winding streets to the family
compound of houses atop the hill. We wouldn't
have been able to find it alone at night.
I had learned a few days earlier while spending
some days visiting Amal in Nazareth that Violet
had just been told that she had metastatic cancer
in both lungs and her liver. She was under-
standably despairing. We hoped by talking
about important experiences in her life, she
would become her strong, courageous, fighting
self again, rather than giving up. She would
need that strength during her newest struggle for
a quality life.
We talked with Violet for about five hours, being
joined by family for an elaborate, delicious meal.
As Violet talked, she became visibly stronger.
She was radiant at midnight as we departed for
Haifa. She wanted to leave her version of her
history so that Arab children, in particular,
would have an understanding of their history
and the part in it which she played. 2 She regret-
ted never having taken the time to write a book.
During the next seven months we had phone
conversations until her death in December 1987
at age 58. Her funeral was attended by 3,000
Arabs and Jews, according to the Jerusalem Post ,
Jan. 16, 1988.
I told Violet that I was interested in knowing her
view of Arab Israeli women and also her per-
sonal experiences, how she got elected, how
people responded, and what she accomplished.
Violet Khoury, Barbara Jenkins, and Vivian Gold
Violet began by saying:
I'm so sorry that male politicians don't appreci-
ate the short time that nature or God has given
us to live. I don't know if I'll be able to live long
enough to see my dreams come true. I want to
live for the sake of my country and for the sake
of my children. I don't want to die for the sake
of anything. But I, as an Arab Israeli woman,
when I hear about a bomb in Tel Aviv in a bus,
or when I hear about an air raid on the Palestin-
ian camps, both these occasions really hurt me.
The Jewish woman who lost her son is my
friend. She's like my sister. Those Palestinians
with all the suffering of forty years, with the
world neglecting them, with the Arabs still using
them so badly, with Israel not thinking of them
as having the right of self determination and
having their own Palestine near Israel, are my
I used to hope that I'd live until there is peace.
Now I pray, I don't want to die before I see one
day of peace between Israel and the Arab state. I
want to live with every Jew as equal in rights
and services. I pray all politicians will think of
humanity and peace. I've said many times
women should join together and force govern-
ments to make peace. I even thought of it when
I was in the Bridge of Peace, HaGesher L' Shalom 3 -
I gave it its name. I also thought of having an
international conference, International United
Women for Peace, where women throughout the
world would unite to forbid wars. I wanted
HaGesher to write Jahan Sadat and Indira
Gandhi so that they would initiate the conference
somewhere in India. The women from the Arab
countries, Israel, Europe, and America would all
attend the conference and lead a hunger strike
until there were no more wars. I thought of
many things. It seems that we women are weak
or else we can't do much with this world of man
with all his neuroses. It is very hard to live
where you are warring all the time between your
country and your people.
During Military Rule
We went through very hard times during the
military rule 4 . I applied to be a teacher, but
wasn't accepted I think because of my frank
opinions. I learned social work and worked as a
social worker for thirteen years for my people. I
used to go on horseback and sleep in Arab
villages, breaking the norms of conservative
Arab society. I took the risk of going against the
strong traditions of the community, but I had the
support of my father. He really believed in me.
My brothers (from father's first wife) said, "Oh,
but you know people will talk. She's sleeping
outside in the villages. She comes late." I heard
my father say, "She'll care for herself. Don't put
obstacles in her way. I can believe in her." I
think that this backing from my father really
helped, especially since I was motherless.
Violet married in 1952 and continued working as
a social worker. Her husband, twenty years
older than she, was a teacher, and later mayor of
the village for many years. They had three sons.
She said that they went through good times and
bad ones. She told the following story which il-
lustrates what life was like for Arabs under the
military government and her commitment to her
In 1960 we still had the military government in
the Galilee and the military governor in Kfar
Yasif used to come twice a month. On the first of
January 1960 I had a facial paralysis. I was
pregnant with my second child 5 . My military
permit had expired and I went to my doctor
here. He gave me a letter sending me to a
specialist in Haifa. He said, "It's urgent!" I said,
"My permit is void. I can't go." He said, "No,
you have to go. You have this letter and, even if
they stop you, they'll understand." My brother
went with me because we're very close and he's
a nurse. Between Acre and Haifa there was a
check point. The military man came to see the
permits. My brother's was valid, but mine had
expired so I explained, "I'm ill. Look at my face.
(My eye looked terrible.) This is the letter from
the doctor. I'm going to the specialist. We have
to go to Haifa. My brother wanted to come with
me." He said, "Why are you afraid? We're not
going to eat you." I said, "My brother isn't ill.
He's going with me because I'm ill. If you don't
let me go to the doctor's, then my brother can go
to the doctor and get treatment for me." It was a
very windy day and I was paralyzed on one side
of my face. I said, "Look, take me wherever you
want, but you can't leave me in this weather
because I think it's not good for me. Look at my
eye." He responded "You don't give us orders!!"
We stood outside for three quarters of an hour
and then I started really shouting. They put me
in the jeep with my brother and they took me
back to Acre to the police station. I was told I
had to be fingerprinted. I said, "I'm not a crimi-
nal. Can't you see that I am ill! Can't you see
that I can't wait. Here is the medical report." The
military governor isn't here today. He is ex-
pected in three days, but he may not come then.
They insisted that I had to be fingerprinted.
She remained in the police station for hours with
many attempts to fingerprint her ending in a
stalemate. She believed that they were trying to
compromise her integrity by bringing a Druze
Knesset member, Jaber Madi, to sign for her
release. She said that he, together with his
children, plotted the murder of a Bedouin
Knesset member, Hammad Abu-Rabia. She
asked him not to interfere. Later they brought
her aged father. She asked him not to sign for
her since she wasn't a criminal. He agreed not to
sign, but refused to go home because he was
afraid she would be beaten. They could hear
people being beaten. Finally an officer spoke to
her in English (this was helpful since at that time
she didn't speak Hebrew well) and agreed to let
her accompany her father home without signing
anything since she was ill and pregnant. She
returned to Court five days later, refused to
admit her guilt, was fined, and when the judge
said,"Don't you respect this Court?" she
responded,"I want this Court to respect the
people!" She never received the appropriate
medical treatment in Haifa. One side of her face
showed signs of paralysis.
She told another story about what occurred
when her beloved uncle, Dr. Musala, sent a
telegram in 1961 or 1962 that he was visiting
Jordan and wanted to see them at Mandelbaum
Gate. They went through elaborate procedures
and the rest of her family received permits which
Violet was denied. Her husband was a member
of the Local Council, and the Israeli government
wanted her to be photographed with someone
who was in the government. She refused be-
cause she thought that doing so would compro-
mise them and make them appear to be traitors
since her husband had entered a coalition with
someone else. She experienced and resisted
much family pressure. She was determined to
see her uncle if he was there even if it meant
getting shot. She went alone early to the guard-
house at Mandelbaum Gate and was first told
that her uncle had canceled the meeting two
weeks earlier. Later, after some consultation, the
guard said that the rest of her family could see
him, but not Violet. Her family arrived and she
instructed her sister to go to the Jordanian side
and ask the guard there. Her sister returned
saying "They knew that he canceled and they
made all this hutsaka , charade, from Kfar Yasif
to Jerusalem (a difficult trip) for our father who
was an old man!" He nearly died.
After the Military Government
After Violet's husband decided to retire from the
Local Council, she asked his permission to run
for the Council. When she won in 1969, he
admitted that he gave permission because he
thought she wouldn't win. She enlisted the help
of open-minded young people who helped her
run on an independent list of candidates for the
office. A number of the women told her that
they were glad she was running, but they
couldn't vote for her because their husbands
were supporting another candidate. She ex-
plained that families voted as a block. She won
because enough families supported her. Later I
asked her if the women from the Arab and
Jewish Peace Group, HaGesher , the Bridge, had
come to Kfar Yasif to help her. She said that
there was no outside help.
Since men ridiculed those who supported her,
she was careful to continue doing all the house-
hold chores so that her supporters would not
lose their status in the community. Her husband
still insisted that she bring his coffee in bed, and
she prepared all the meals for her family to eat
in her absence from home. Working on the
Local Council meant adding an additional job to
her others. She continued teaching six days a
week and had full responsibility for the care of
her family which included relatives who re-
quired additional care.
She was always alert when she served on the
Local Council since she believed the other coun-
cil members as well as others in the village were
looking for something with which to criticize and
discredit her as a woman. They wanted to say,
"Well, she's a woman. What do you expect from
a woman!" The positions she took were excel-
lent, and eventually the men began to notice.
She tried to improve the health and human
services for women and children. Women told
her they were proud of her. She was invited into
a coalition a year and a half later and served as
mayor for three years.
She resigned from the Council when a new
coalition was formed, based on religious funda-
mentalism and separateness which went against
her socialist, humanitarian, universalist values.
She later returned to the Local Council and was
Deputy Chairman, under Nimir Murkus, from
1979-83, when she immigrated to Canada in
anger, frustration, and disgust after the Israeli
government refused to treat a violent incident
between her village and a neighboring one with
the same legal measures they would use if
similar violence had occurred between Jewish
The violence began during the final soccer match
played in Kfar Yasif with Julis, a neighboring
Druze village. Because football in Israel is
sometimes violent extra police protection was
requested. Only six police were assigned. Julis
fans arrived in military dress carrying weap-
ons — rifles, hand grenades. (Druze males are
drafted into the IDF.) Violet's son played on the
Kfar Yasif team. However, she didn't attend the
game. When the game began, a Julis fan threw a
noise grenade onto the field. The police were
called, but reinforcements arrived after the game.
During the game insults about the mothers of the
Kfar Yasif team were shouted by Julis fans, and
fighting between fans ensued. Two Julis youth
were stabbed — one died later in the hospital.
The police were kept busy collecting military
weapons from Julis fans. The crowd swarmed
the center of Kfar Yasif where someone from
Julis threw a hand grenade near a crowd of Kfar
Yasif children. Nine were injured — one died a
couple weeks later. The police detained six Kfar
Yasif young men, but refused to point out the
murderer since according to the law only the
Court of Justice can give such a serious verdict.
The KY Local Council met and, against Violet's
advice, decided to begin the Arab Sulha, a peace
reconciliation committee comprised of leaders
from other local villages which called on the
family of the victim to express sympathy on
behalf of the KY village and offer financial
compensation. The offer was rejected; they
wanted the name of the murderer (presumably
to kill him). The reconciliation committee dis-
banded when the KY Local Council couldn't
comply because they didn't know. The next day
police were called several times when people
from Julis were seen in Kfar Yasif doing suspi-
cious looking surveillance. The requests for
extra protection were dismissed with sarcasm.
One the following day Violet got a warning
phone call that they were coming to kill her son.
She got them out safely. Five minutes later
thousands from Julis entered KY in military
vehicles with military uniforms and weapons as
well as on foot with knives and garden tools. A
grenade exploded in the building of the Local
Council, and during the next two hours ten resi-
dents were injured, two killed, and 100 homes
and businesses and 26 autos were destroyed.
Within the first three minutes of the attack the
police in Kfar Yasif and Acre were called to stop
the invasion and protect the residents. They
arrived after the attackers left. In addition phone
calls for help were made to leaders of nearby
villages to come stand between the villages.
They responded immediately, but were stopped
on the road by the police some distance from KY 6 .
The fire brigade and ambulances were also
prevented by the police from entering the vil-
lage. The twelve police on duty in the village
used no tear gas and apprehended no one. The
KY Local Council believed that the police delay
was intentional and that there was collusion
between the Julis Druze and the police. They
requested that the Prime Minister begin an inves-
tigation independent of the local police. Instead,
a police investigating committee was convened
which reported that there was negligence. The
case was closed; no one was tried in Court.
Violet immediately sent her son, whose house
and restaurant had been destroyed, to Canada to
prevent any further attacks on his life. She tried
to take legal action, but couldn't find a Jewish
attorney willing to take the case. She said that
she met with the Prosecutor General who said
that there was an Israeli law which stated that
the Government could not be responsible for
actions by an army man. She and her husband
immigrated to Canada in 1983, but returned
when her husband couldn't adjust to life there.
She said that since then her health failed. She
developed high blood pressure, diabetes, heart
irregularities, and cancer.
1 The Jerusalem Post (January 16, 1983) reported that
she was mayor for two years, while the chapter on Violet
Khoury "For the First Time, An Arab Woman Was
Something" in Geraldine Stern Israeli Women Speak Out
says three years.
I had heard from a number of people, including
Arab youth in an dialogue group with Jewish adoles-
cents, that they did not learn about Arab history in their
Arab schools because their teachers were afraid of
reprisal from the shin bet, the Israeli secret police. The
subject was supposed to be taught, but teachers had been
called in for questioning and fired for teaching it.
Violet was one of the founding members of
HaGesher which was started when Ruth Lys, a Jewish
mother who lost her son in the Yom Kippur war, wrote
Jahan Sadat about her loss and inquired about Egyptian
women who suffered similar losses and wanted peace.
Jahan Sadat wrote back that she also was interested in
peace. Their correspondence was published in the
newspaper and Arab and Jewish women in Israel began
to meet in homes to discuss issues and their personal
experiences. They still meet. Many of the women
writing for this issue are or v/ere members including BBJ.
From Oct. 21,1948 to Dec. 1, 1966 Arab citizens of
Israel lived under Military Government. They were
treated as enemies within the state, as third class citizens.
The statutes, 170 articles, were inherited from the British
Mandate which was enacted to deal with the Palestinian
Arab revolt of 1936-39 and was later used with the Stern
gang. It was used only after a state of emergency was
declared. The government of Israel has had a permanent
state of emergency against its Arab citizens, even after
abolishing the Military Government. While the Israeli
government would assert that the discriminations have
occurred because of security needs, that argument has
been refuted in a recent doctoral dissertation by Dr.
Samir Miari (1986).
Arab citizens were forced to carry special permits which
they obtained from the military governor in their area if
they were traveling outside their village. The permit was
valid for a specified time period, location, and route. The
threat of not obtaining a permit controlled the political
behavior as well as the social, educational, and economic
prospects for the Arab citizens. They had to be satisfied
with low paying jobs. They couldn't compete in the job
market for higher status jobs. They couldn't travel to
explore other job possibilities and they weren't hired
because they were Arabs. They were suspected and
disrespected. Their property was taken by the govern-
Article 125, the most frequently used article, was used in
combination with the provisions of the Cultivation of
Waste Lands Ordinance to substantially expropriate Arab
agricultural lands. The process is described by Ian
Lustick (1980, p 178) and cited by Miari (1986):
A closed area encompassing Arab-owned agricultural
lands is declared a "closed area." The owners of the land
are then denied permission by the security authorities to
enter the area for any purpose whatsoever, including cul-
tivation. After three years pass, the Ministry of Agricul-
ture issues certificates which classify the lands as unculti-
vated. The owners are notified that unless cultivation is
renewed immediately the lands will be subject to expro-
priation. The owners, still barred by the security authori-
ties from entering the "closed area" within which their
lands are located, cannot resume cultivation. The lands
are then expropriated and become part of the general
land reserve for Jewish settlement. Eventually permis-
sion to enter the "closed area" is granted to Jewish
farmers; alternatively the classification of the area as
"closed" is lifted altogether.
Miari discusses each of the important regulations which
were used to acquire Arab lands and presents data from
several sources, including Lustick, for 27 Arab villages in
Table 4.1 and concludes that "over 68 percent of the total
land privately owned by Arabs was expropriated" (p. 93).
5 At the time of the interview her second son was a
physician doing his internship in Rothschild Hospital in
6 While getting some words translated I learned from
Samir Miari that many religious leaders and people from
surrounding villages, heeding the call for help and com-
ing to stand between the two villages, were stopped by
the police on the road leading to the villages and not
allowed to proceed. He lived in a neighboring village
and it appeared to him that the police were involved
with the people of Julis.
CREATING AN OASIS OF PEACE
Barbara B. Jenkins and Nava Sonnenschein
Neve Shalom in Hebrew/Wahat al-Salam in
Arabic means Oasis of Peace. It is a serious and
creative endeavor by Jews and Palestinians who
are citizens of Israel to live and work together.
In the last ten years they have created a village
which now has seventy in residence. The goal is
to have half from each nationality. Currently,
however, membership is about sixty percent
Jewish, forty percent Palestinian. They are
located half way between Tel Aviv and Jerusa-
lem near Kibbutz Nachshon. It was no man's
land on the Israeli side of the border before 1967.
The land belongs to the Latrun Monastery which
rents the land to the village.
Modest homes sit atop a hill (more like a moun-
tain when you are climbing up) with a magnifi-
cent view of the Ayalon Valley and coastal cities
at night. In February and March the whole
mountain side was covered with lovely wild-
flowers. The atmosphere between people is open
and friendly. Sometimes there is conflict and
tension, but they listen to each other. When you
come from Jerusalem, as I did many times, you
can feel the difference; there is no fear of each
other. All are treated with respect. The adults
work devotedly from about seven in the morning
until late at night, six days a week. They under-
stand how important their work is. Everyone
earns the same pay. The founder of the commu-
nity, Father Bruno Hussar, a Dominican priest,
has been nominated this year on behalf of
NS/WS for the Nobel Peace Prize.
I learned an important lesson there: what may
seem impossible is do-able. A few weeks before
a giant open house, called Open Day, when Jews
and Palestinians from all over the country were
invited to share the arts, music, dance, and picnic
peacefully on the mountainside, I came one week
end to help the village get ready as did twenty-
two other volunteers, people from a Beit Hillel
(Hillel House) dialogue at Hebrew University
and graduates from programs at NS/WS. (If you
think about it, would you consider inviting
20,000 people to your home and the homes of
thirteen neighbors? What about planning for
charter buses, parking, bathrooms, food? The
houses are unlocked.) Ariela told us we would
be clearing the side of the mountain down to a
natural amphitheater so that people could sit and
listen to music. The thistle was plentiful and
about five feet high. I took one look and thought
it was impossible. We were shown what to do,
started at the bottom and cleared everything.
Stopping to watch one saw the weeds cleared
away like rising waves. We finished ahead of
schedule with lots of blisters and good humor. It
was possible! What special spirit! We were
proud of our work and spent the rest of the
evening getting to know each other better.
Twenty thousand came to the Open Day a few
weeks later when we were all back as volunteers.
Why would anyone want to live anywhere else?
For this article I interviewed Nava Sonnenschein,
the former Educational Director of the School for
Peace (SFP), and incorporated passages from a
summary of the Ford Foundation research writ-
ten by Elias Eady, the current Educational Direc-
tor. (They rotate the leadership positions; Ariela
will direct it next year.) Nava is in the U.S. for
two years working on an M.A. in Counseling
while her husband Cobi, from the Weizmann
Institute, has a post-doctoral fellowship at Stan-
ford University in physics.
How did you come to NS/WS and what was it
like in the early days?
I was living in Haifa and involved in the rela-
tionship between Jews and Palestinians. While
Haifa is a mixed city, Jews and Palestinians do
not live in the same neighborhoods. It was
frustrating because there was no framework for
really living together, even the political activities
were separate. We thought how it would be
wonderful if there was one village which Jews
and Palestinians could build together. It was just
thinking about an idea. One day in 1977 we
were in a demonstration in Nazareth against the
Kenig document, a racist government document
against Palestinian citizens in the north of the
country (mostly Jews demonstrating in a mainly
Palestinian city) when a person stood on the
stage and said that there will be a camp at a
place called NS/WS and people are invited. We
went to the camp in 1977. From this camp a
group of about thirty people decided to organize
a group that maybe one day would come and
live in NS/WS. There are other families at NS/
WS that participated in the group: Abed and
Aisha Najjar l , Eitan and Semadar Kreimer 2 .
There were other people from other organiza-
tions: Shutafut (Partnership) and Beit Hillel
(Hillel House). It was a nice experience. It was
very important for Cobi and me to do something
with partners from the other people, with Pales-
tinians, to really live together. In 1979 we came
to live at NS/WS and were the second perma-
Philosophy of NS/WS
There are two people living in this country: Jews
and Palestinians. Both think it's their country
and neither is going to leave. We don't believe
in expelling people, or occupying territories or in
one people using force to rule the other people.
We believe in equality in all levels. Jews and
Palestinians should find a way to live together in
equality, on the national level, as well as cultur-
ally and socially. That's why we decided to
build this village. It is important not to mix
everything; each group should keep its own
identity (national, cultural, religious, ethnic) and
respect differences. Pluralism is very important,
in addition to equality. It is also important to
spread the idea outside to other people. It
doesn't mean that all Israel/Palestine will have
villages like NS/WS, but it is the symbolic aspect
of NS/WS that we can really build together,
make decisions together, rotate the important
roles and positions of power, and really share
our lives. It is important because everybody said
it is impossible. We don't think so. By really
having this experience, we can also have an
honest and powerful message for other people
who come to participate in workshops at NS/
WS, at the School for Peace (SFP), and in peace
The School for Peace
The SFP is an educational institute where we do
educational projects for Palestinian and Jewish
teen-agers and adults from all over the country
(10,000 so far). We have done a variety of proj-
ects including developing the model for encoun-
ter workshops for Jews and Palestinians which
many other organizations now use. We also
have courses to train counselors to do conflict
management workshops, and we have a number
of ongoing projects which are really unique to
the SFP: (a) we have a follow-up of activities for
ongoing groups that are longer than a year; (b)
projects with Palestinian women in their commu-
nities; (c) projects with leaders in their communi-
ties; (d) projects with Palestinian students at
Hebrew University to improve their chances of
not dropping out after their first year; (e) projects
for leaders in youth movements; and (f) projects
with Eastern (Oriental) Jews focussed on the rela-
tionship between Eastern Jews and Palestinians.
We are the only place doing ongoing action
research on the effectiveness of our conflict man-
agement groups. With funding from the Ford
Foundation, Haviva Bar of the Institute for
Applied Social Research in Jerusalem conducted
the research which showed that doing dialogue
groups is not enough, it depends on how you do
It is essential for every encounter to tailor indi-
vidualized programs for each group. In the past,
the School for Peace focused its goals on warm
bonds and contact between both peoples during
and after every encounter. . . Today these aims
are no longer paramount.
We focus more on an awareness of the situation,
on the skills to live amidst the conflict, and on
one's affinity for and acquaintance with oneself,
one's group, and the other national group. . .
The School for Peace uniquely invests its efforts
in promoting young people's ability 'to live with
the conflict'. . . [reflecting] the fact that the
conflict is difficult and complicated, and its
solutions will be difficult.
One of the most critical findings. . . was the vast
difference between the Jewish intervention group
[attending workshops] and the Jewish compari-
son group, i.e., whenever there was no interven-
tion, the regression of the comparison group
(movement in the undesirable direction concern-
ing our aims) [having more stereotypes and
being less willing to know the other side] was
extremely pronounced. . . It is impossible to run
numerous one-time workshops for many young
people. . . To provide equal opportunity for both
peoples during an encounter, one must recognize
the different needs of Arab and Jewish students
and provide an individualized response geared
toward moving both groups toward the same
goals. . . Both groups appreciated that the
workshops had enabled them to know them-
selves better, and had generally strengthened
their identity and their awareness of the
conflict's complexity 3 .
We work separately with each group so they will
arrive more mature and prepared for the conflict
management workshop. Otherwise, the Jews can
be immobilized by their fears, be very aggres-
sive, or not be able to listen. The Palestinians,
not having previous experience in group process
or the opportunity to discuss the complex issue
of identity, might lack confidence and be very
defensive. We do at least two workshops with
each group after intensive work with them in
As a result of the intifada we had to work harder
with some Jewish parents to persuade them to
send their children. This was much less true on
the Palestinian side. With the teen-agers, how-
ever, both sides wanted to come more than ever.
When the Palestinian group came they showed
pride in what their people can do — not the
violence, but in using nonviolent methods to try
to change the situation of people from the West
Bank. They saw that they are not helpless, they
can do something. None of the planned activi-
ties was canceled.
Living in a community gives workshops a di-
mension and depth that you can't find else-
where. People who come to the activities see us
living there. They see that we have children.
They see that we decide together. Sometimes
they say that they wish their community was like
that. They ask a lot of questions. How can it
work? What are the difficulties and problems?
How do you deal with it? By really hearing
specifically how we deal with difficult moments,
they see it's not a dream or illusion or propa-
ganda. It's real life. The counselors are able to
work at a greater depth because of understand-
ing things differently from having lived together
for so long.
Whaf s it like raising your children there? Tell
me about the Bilingual/Binational School, the
only one in the country.
One of the beautiful things is that your child is
living without fear of children from the other
national group, unlike the average child in Israel
who sees them as enemies. If you ask the aver-
age Jewish child what he thinks about Arabs or
Palestinians, he will say they are terrorists, assas-
sins, and I'm frightened. Our children play
together; they speak both languages because the
school is bilingual and bicultural. They respect
differences. An example which reflects it is
when my son Nir was five, he went to a park in
Jerusalem and one girl said to them, "Hey, kids!
Aren't you afraid to be here alone? There are
Arabs here." He came home and told me the
story. He said,"Such a stupid girl. I told her
what's the problem? Arabs are our friends." I
see differences with my sister's children or other
relatives, they are growing up differently. Our
children are not ignoring the problems. They are
dealing with them as they present themselves
every day. For example, when there is Inde-
pendence Day, the children have to decide what
to do. This year they put up an Israeli flag and
next to it an empty one. They talked about the
meaning: I can put my flag, but you can't put
your flag. When you see them playing or study-
ing, it's hard to know who is who.
In the open classroom there are always two
teachers each speaking in his/her own language.
First they learn to read and write in their own
language and then in the other one. They start
to speak both languages from the beginning. It's
an open classroom because of the heterogeneous
ages; there's team-work and opportunities to
pursue individual interests. Partly we were
influenced by the kibbutz schools, partly by the
open schools, partly by the imagination and
creativity of our teachers. There's a nursery for
the seven babies, a preschool together with a
kindergarten, and an elementary school class-
Have you gotten government funding?
No, not for our infra-structure or our schools.
All our funding comes from abroad. We did get
some loans from the Ministry of Housing which
every Israeli can get.
Tell about Open Day
Once in two years we have given people who
have graduated from our programs, their fami-
lies, and their communities the opportunity to
come and enjoy one day of art together in a
peaceful way. This is unique in Israel where the
arts are done separately. We contacted artists
from both sides and they volunteered their per-
formances. About 8,000 came to the first one
and 20,000 to the second.
In a country painfully torn by conflict NS/WS
stands out as an oasis in honest, respectful, and
realistic living. It shows what is possible when
caring people treat each other as human beings
and continue to try to listen and understand
when they have serious disagreements. They
live with the tension; not all conflicts are re-
solved, but the people are respected. They
provide a realistic hope about what is possible
with committed hard work and imagination.
1 Abed is currently the village secretary (mayor) and
Aisha is the Palestinian teacher for the kindergarten in
the Bilingual/Binational School.
Eitan is the village treasurer and Semadar is
coordinator of the tourism project.
3 Eady, Elias. The Contribution of Ongoing Action
Research to the School for Peace, 1985-88. July, 1988. He
is the Director of the School for Peace and the former
village secretary (mayor).
Cover photo key reads from top to bottom, left to
1 . Dr. Vivian Gold and Violet Khoury, Kfar Yasif
2. Chocolate- faced child, HSDC Nursery, Kababir
3. Kinaan Waheadah, Wesal AH Mulla and Nagat
Saleh, Yarka Village
4. Children, SDCH Nursery, Kababir
5. Bedouin sisters, Haifa
6. Child, HBWS
7. Yosra Miari
8. Amal Sarujo, Ariela Bairey, NS/WS
9. Ethiopian woman, HBWS
10. Brig. Gen. Amira Do tan
11. Mother and child, HBWS
12. Queen Esthers, Tel Aviv
13. A friend and Coral Aron, NS/WS
14. Children, SDCH Nursery, Kababir
15. Children, SDCH Nursery, Kababir
16. Widad Agbariah, Kababir
Photos by Barbara B. Jenkins
SDCH = Social Development Committee of Haifa
HBWS = Haifa Battered Women's Shelter
NS/WS = Nev Shalom/Wahat al- Salam
HOW WE STARTED OUR NURSERY
SCHOOL : ARAB WOMEN'S
GROUP OPENS DOORS
Dr. Mar'i has volunteered her work at the Arab Pedagogical
Center. She is an instructor at the University of Haifa and is
a counselor at the Orthodox Arab College in Haifa. She is
co-president of Shutafut (Partnership), an excellent organiza-
tion which engages in joint Jewish and Arab projects; is a
member of the executive committee of the International
Center for Peace in the Middle East; is a member of the
Prime Minister's Advisory Committee on the Issue of Arab
Women; and is on the board of the New Israel Fund. She
was approached by three political parties to run on their list.
She declined. Her priority is the Acre Arab Women's
I observed the teachers training program at the Arab
Pedagogical Center in Akko (Acre) and was impressed with
the Deweyian methods in action. The teachers were
engaged in the art activities which they would later use with
the children in their classrooms. I had previously observed
in an Arab nursery school and had seen a laissez faire at-
mosphere where children engaged in free play for long
periods of time without any teacher intervention or plan. I
believe that Mar'i's assessment of the need for direct
classroom observation of teachers in the field is very essen-
tial to improve the education of the Arab population in
Mariam, a Muslim, has recently been widowed and is facing
the difficulties of raising two teen-agers alone. BBJ
APC trained teachers, SDCH Nursery, Kababir
We began as a group of friends, Arab women
with different professions, meeting around a cup
of coffee and cake or tabbouleh and discussing
current events. For the first year, it was un-
planned and unorganized talking. After a while,
we decided that each woman who hosted the
meeting was responsible for choosing the discus-
sion which could be about an article, a book, a
film or a topic in her profession. The topics
ranged from psychological problems to the
education of our children as well as theological
and spiritual matters. We met once a month for
In the beginning, we brought our children with
us but they bothered us so we decided that the
meetings were going to be without the children.
The children were left with their fathers, which
at the beginning was okay. But when our meet-
ings became lengthy, the fathers started com-
plaining. When the fathers started complaining
about the children and our absences for longer
periods of time, we started thinking of a solution
for the children.
At first we used baby-sitting, but we weren't
very pleased with it. Then we thought of creat-
ing a nursery school. We decided to expand the
idea to include children whose mothers weren't
in our consciousness-raising group. We went
door-to-door to register students and to encour-
age parents to send their children to the nursery
Then we went to the municipality and started
fighting for a place to start the nursery school.
At the beginning, we really didn't win our battle
with the municipality. We rented a basement for
six months and were finally successful with the
municipality and acquired larger quarters. Our
persistence brought success; we learned we
could actually do something. We began the first
Arab nursery school in Acre in 1975.
SDCH Nursery, Kababir
Four years ago, we created a center beside the
nursery which we called a Pedagogical Center,
which served the whole Arab community in
Israel. We had an outreach program to other
nursery schools and began a training program
for care givers and teachers.
So far, we have trained two hundred teachers
and care givers and are involved with thirty
teachers who have completed our initial training
program. We supervise them in their classrooms
and provide instructional materials.
We created the follow-up program because we
found out that training in the center itself is not
enough. We had provided them with a theoreti-
cal foundation and actual practice in the activi-
ties they would conduct with the children. But
when we observed them in their own nursery
school classrooms, we found they were not util-
izing what they had been taught. So last year,
we created a follow-up program supervising
them in the field.
We have a growing project. We started from one
class of thirteen children and now we have one
hundred children with nine staff members in our
own nursery school which began in 1975, and
the Arab Pedagogical Center in Acre, to support
this nursery school and day-care center and to
reach out to other private nursery schools in the
country. The care givers in those private nurser-
ies had no supervision, no guidance and no
training; they became the target group for our
training program. In addition to training those
already in the field, we recruited some people
interested in joining the profession.
In our outreach for those working in the field,
we write letters explaining about the program.
We get a 99 percent response from the field
workers because they really want training. For
those interested in joining the profession, we put
announcements in the local newspapers advertis-
ing our expert training course. After they regis-
ter, they are given written tests on language,
logic and creativity. We have personal inter-
views with those who score highly on the tests
and select those most suitable. We have twenty
five in each class and we run a couple of classes
We have moved to a new facility. We bought an
abandoned a house in Acre, which was used by
drug dealers. We started remodeling inside but
had difficulty with the municipality. We believe
that they thought the money came from the PLO.
It did not. Even though there was no law
against what we were doing to the inside of the
building, we couldn't get water and electricity.
We went to court and won but unfortunately
had to spend a lot of money in the process.
There is a law about remodeling the outside of
the building and we haven't been allowed to
continue with our work on the outside. This
disturbs me because from the outside, the build-
ing does not express our philosophy of clean,
neat and respectable values we want our teach-
ers to internalize.
We desperately need funds. We've had to spend
so much on court costs. We lost our contractor
because of delays. We're aiming for $10,000.00
to remodel the outside of the building. I will
arrange that contributions made out to the New
Israel Fund (tax deductible) will be forwarded to
us if they are earmarked for the Arab Acre
We also need material relevant to early child-
hood programs and child development. There
are new materials, films and children's books
produced in the U.S. we have been unable to get.
We also need funds and a publisher in order to
publish a few children's books which we have
written in Arabic.
A DAY AT THE SHELTER
Naomi Feigin, the Director of the Haifa Battered Women's
Shelter, has a Diploma of Teaching from the Canberra
College of Advanced Education in the Australian Capital
Territory and a B.A. in English Literature from Haifa
University. She taught English for four years before becom-
ing a volunteer at the refuge. Through her involvement with
the collective, Nashim Lemaon Nashim, Women for Women
of Haifa, she was offered a job as one of the refuge coordina-
She spent the past year in Melbourne, writing short stories
based on the experiences with women at the refuge while
her husband was on sabbatical there. In a few years she
hopes to devote herself fully to writing. BBJ
The refuge, or "shelter", as it is translated from
Hebrew, is at first glance both shocking and
depressing. The huge stone edifice in the Chris-
tian quarter of Haifa with its high ceilings and
tiled floors, darkens ones spirit as the cold stone
hits flesh. It cries out poverty and deprivation.
Yet within its walls lives a community of women
who through clouds of cigarette smoke and
simmering pots of Turkish coffee, take "time
out" to re-evaluate their battered lives. They are
Jewish, Moslem, Christian, Bedouin, and Druze,
living under one roof and although not leaving
their prejudices behind, they discover upon
arrival, that their collective bruises and beatings
I sit on a bed opposite Miriam who arrived last
week and listen. Her three year old daughter is
upstairs in the shelter kindergarten and her baby
son sleeps in the crib in the corner of the room.
She does not display her bruises, but has a look
of fear and hopelessness darkening the prema-
ture folds under her eyes, and a limpness of
body that knows that to fight back will only
make things worse.
It is not by chance that my life has become
enmeshed with Miriam's although our experi-
ences are as far apart as the distance I have
travelled to sit opposite her. I can only imagine
the pain and degradation of being slapped
around and bullied. It was not part of my
growing up, and in marriage I have known love,
respect and trust.
In Melbourne, Australia, I was the only Naomi in
Murrumbeena, an outer suburb where my par-
ents could afford their first house. I had no
desire to be Anne, Margaret or Susan, or to have
a Christmas tree. I absorbed my parents' Jewish,
European background and culture, and like the
biblical character after whom I was named felt a
stranger in my land. I went to a Zionist youth
movement to meet other Jewish children whose
parents, like mine, had survived the holocaust. I
learned about Israel and the socialist dream
when the sixties and idealism for a better world
penetrated our beings.
Israel beckoned. Back in Melbourne after a year
on a kibbutz I was left yearning for the passion-
ate Israelis with whom my path had crossed, and
for the land and its history. Today, seventeen
years later Israel still generates a passion in all
who come in contact with it, whether Jew or
Arab. Intertwined, like the olive tree roots that
line the road to Jerusalem these passions are still
Israel's strength as well as its weakness.
Miriam is packing. She is going home. She will
give her husband one more chance. He has been
phoning and begging her to return every since
he discovered her whereabouts. He misses the
children. He has never made so many promises.
And he doesn't beat the children, not like some
men. She misses her house and the neighbors. I
do understand her don't I? She can come back,
can't she? If it doesn't work out, we will take
her in again?
The baby stirs. He sits up in bed and looks
around at the room that his sister calls their
"house." In a year, or two, or three, this child
may occupy the bed on which I now sit and his
new baby brother or sister will occupy his crib.
By then, Miriam may have come to realize that
the promises her husband has made, whether
well-meaning or not, are as vacant as the wall at
which she now stares.
Chilmiya, who has a small room opposite
Miriam's, cannot return home. She was beaten
unconscious by her husband because she spoke
to another man. She has brought "shame" on
her family and is in danger of her life if she steps
within the village boundary.
Chilmiya and I communicate with our hands and
the few words she knows in Hebrew. She has
never been taught the language of the country of
her birth because she was a girl. I cannot speak
Arabic like my Israeli colleagues and always
promise myself that I will take lessons as soon as
I have mastered Hebrew completely. Chilmiya's
divorce proceedings are endless, as are those of
her Jewish contemporaries. They, however, may
marry again. She, as a divorcee, is only one rung
above a prostitute in her community.
It is almost three o'clock. Our three daughters
await me at home. Upon entering the front door,
Miriam and Chilmiya are swept aside until the
darkness of my bed when thoughts can roam
freely. I fear war and sickness. I cannot imagine
fearing the man with whom I share this bed. I
am angry with Israeli religious bodies, govern-
ment agencies and society in general for barely
acknowledging the needs of the Miriams and
Chilmiyas of this world.
My thoughts turn to Rachel and Ganet who
despite incredible pressures did not return to
their violent husbands and who brave it alone
with their children in apartments in Haifa.
Today we, the workers and volunteers, are their
support, their family and their friends. It is we
who sign as guarantors for their landlords and
we who are invited to share in their new found
independence. They spent almost a year at the
shelter fighting for their children, maintenance,
and that piece of paper called a get which is a
divorce. They struggle to make ends meet with
the pensions they receive, and clean houses to
make some extra money. Rachel is Israeli born.
Ganet is a new immigrant from Ethiopia. It is
the courage of Rachel and Ganet that keeps us all
going when the system fails.
Each year, over one hundred women and their
children step through the iron security door to
the safety of the shelter. The old stone building
with its high ceilings and tiled floors gives
comfort, protection, strength and hope to Israeli
women. After I have gone home to my family,
the pot of Turkish coffee simmers long into the
Residents, Haifa Battered Women's Shelter
RECOMMENDED LIST OF PEACE AND WOMEN'S GROUPS IN ISRAEL AND
SUPPORTING GROUPS IN THE U.S.
Barbara B. Jenkins
Acre Arab Women Association, 10 Ma'aleh Hahorsha, P.O. Box 2318, Acre 24505, Israel. T: 04-912289 Programs : Arab Pedagogi-
cal Center training nursery teachers. Contact : Dr. Mariam Mar'i TDC: Mart arranged: send checks made out to the New Israel
Fund to the above address.
Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), 2 Turiah St., Abu Tor, Jerusalem 93511, Israel. T: 02-718308 Program : A non-
political body dedicated to the defense of the individual and civil rights in Israel, including freedom of speech and association,
and the right to protest and to move freely. Contact : Eli Natan and Hagi Israeli TDC: Check made out to New Israel Fund.
Center for Women's Studies, University of Haifa, Haifa 31999, Israel. T: 04-240929 Programs : Kidma Project for the Advance-
ment and Involvement of Women in Israeli society. Outreach programs to Arab and Jewish women not usually attending univer-
sity, including strengthening their self image, assertiveness training, and motivating them to act for the betterment of society;
Public Lecture Series; Visiting Scholar Program; contributions will enable the beginning of a Women's Center in a university.
Contact : Dr. Marilyn Safir, Director of Women's Studies. TDC: Send checks made out to American Friends of Haifa University
to Dr. Marilyn Safir at the above address.
HaGesher (The Bridge) Organization of Jewish & Arab Women for Coexistence and Peace; Several Branches: Dr. Marilyn Safir,
Dr. Mariam Mar'i, Dr. Vivian Gold, University of Haifa, Haifa 31999, Israel. T: 04-240929; or Dr. Ada Aharoni, Beit Hagefen, 2
Hagefen St., P.O. Box 9421, Haifa, Israel. T: 04-525251/2 Program : Monthly meetings, lectures, reciprocal visits, symposia; not
politically affiliated. This spring the Haifa U. Women's Studies Center, HaGesher, and Nitzanei Shalom co-sponsored a sympo-
sium for Arab and Jewish Women. Contact : Marilyn Safir or Ada Aharoni.
Haifa Shelter For Bartered Women, P.O. Box 4667, Haifa, Israel. T: 04-662114 & 04-642409 Program : Shelter, support and
counseling for Jewish and Arab battered women; kindergarten for children; they need career counseling program for the women
as well as clothing. Part of the Isha L'Isha Woman to Woman Program. Contact : Naomi Feigin TDC: New Israel Fund.
Israeli Council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace, P.O. Box 956, Tel Aviv 61008, Israel. T: 03-5565804 Program : Created in 1976, the
Council supports a resolution for a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip alongside Israel; Newsletter The Other
Israel. Contacts : Adam Keller America-Israel Council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace (AICIPP), 4816 Cornell Ave., Downers Grove,
IL 60515. T: (312) 969-7584 Contact : Mary Appelman TDC: Send check made out to AICIPP to the above address.
Israel Potters Association, c/o Magdalena Hafez, Cafe Magdalena, 22 Shelomo HaMelech St., Jerusalem, Israel. T: 02-224710.
Israel Women's Network, P.O. Box 3171, Jerusalem 91037, Israel, T: 02-528057 Programs : National association of women's
associations; hot line: health problems; discrimination in the workplace; consciousness-raising programs; materials library;
symposia; Annual Membership — $25. First International Jewish Feminist Conference in Jerusalem, November 28-December 1,
1988 cosponsored with American Jewish Congress and the World Jewish Congress. (For more information contact: American
Jewish Congress, Commission for Women's Equality, 15 East 84th Street, New York, N.Y. 10028. Contact : Alice Shalvi, Ph.D.
TDC and membership: Send check made out to New Israel Fund to the New Israel Fund Office in New York.
Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam Village (Oasis of Peace), D.N. Shimshon 99761, Israel. T: 02-912222 Programs : School for Peace;
Bilingual/Binational School. Contact : Abed Elsalam Najjar, Ariela Bairey or Elias Eady, Amer. Friends of NSAVS, 270 W. 89th
St., New York, N.Y. 10024. T: (212) 724-4864. Contact : Karen Weinberg. TDC: Send check made out to New Israel Fund to
New Israel Fund, 111 West 40th St., #2600, New York, NY 10018. T: (212) 302-0066 Program : The New Israel Fund funds
programs on Arab-Jewish relations, civil rights and liberties, women's rights, community action in Jewish and Arab communi-
ties, and pluralism. Many of the groups I had contact with in Israel and that you have read about in this issue are
funded by the NIF. I can highly recommend them based on my own observations of their programs. Tax deductible contribu-
tions to the NIF can be earmarked for particular organizations. You can mail the check made out to the New Israel Fund either to
the NIF office in New York or to the organization directly.
New Jewish Agenda, 64 Fulton St., #1100, New York, NY 10038, T: (212) 227-5885 Pro gram : Works for peace and justice by
applying Jewish values to domestic and international concerns. Priority issues include peace and justice in the Middle East and
Central America, feminism, lesbian and gay rights, opposition to racism and anti-semitism. TDC: New Jewish Agenda.
New Outlook, 9 Gordon St., Tel Aviv 63458, Israel. T: 03-236496/241806/ 241828 Program : Magazine dedicated to Israeli-Arab
peace and the defense of democracy within Israel. Subscription: $30. Contact : Chaim Shur, Faye Bittker, & Hillel Schenker
Friends of New Outlook, 150 Fifth Ave., #911, New York, NY 10011. T: (212) 929-0612 Contact: Hillel Schenker TDC: Friends
of New Outlook.
Nitzanei Shalom (Interns for Peace), 5 Geula St., Tel Aviv, Israel. T: 03-657995 Program : A non-political, independent program
that trains and places Jewish and Arab community workers in a few Jewish and Arab villages. (Like the Peace Corps.) Contact :
Rabbi Bruce Cohen, Farhat Agbariah, Sara Kreimer, and Naomi Shander. New York Office: Dina Charnin, 270 W. 89th St., New
York, NY 10024. TDC: Send check to New Israel Fund at the above address.
Rape Crisis Center, P.O. Box 33041, Tel Aviv 61330, Israel. T: 03-234314; P.O. Box 9308, Haifa, Israel. T: 04-382611; P.O. Box 158,
Jerusalem 91001, Israel. T: 02-245554; PO Box 4, Ra'anana, Israel. T: 052-32432 Pro grams : Provides emotional and physical
support for rape victims and organizes activities to advance awareness of violence against women. Contact : Rina Ben Tzvi (Tel
Aviv), Nira Pravstein (Haifa), Lisa Fine (Jerusalem). TDC: New Israel Fund.
Shalom Achshav (Peace Now), P.O. Box 108, Jerusalem, Israel. T: 02-637205 (h) 02-638247 (w) Program : Focuses on the search
for a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and on efforts to strengthen democracy in Israel. Contact : Tzali Reshef Peace
Now, 111 W. 40th St., New York, NY 10018, T: (212)-944-2403; Contact : Mark Rosenblum TDC: Peace Now Educational Fund or
Chicago Friends of Peace Now.
Shutafut (Partnership), 18 Hillel St., P.O. Box 9577, Haifa 31095 Israel. T: 04-660281 Programs : Coordinate groups for multiple
impact on communities; Partnership between Jews and Arabs in community work, training of teachers, dialogue groups. Contact :
Daniel Padnos, Walid Mulla, Edna Zeretsky, and Dr. Mariam Mar'i. Friends of Partnership, 3982 Bayberry Lane, Seaford, N.Y.
11783. TDC: Send checks made out to New Israel Fund to above address.
The Ad-Hoc Committee of Writers and Artists for an Israeli-Palestinian Peace. A.S.A.C. Inc., RD 1 Box 198, Craryville, NY
12521, T: (518) 851-3168 Program : Palestinian-Israeli art exhibition for peace in recognition of Two Nations, Two States to open
at Cooper Union in NY from October 15 to November 17, 1988 and then tour major US cities. Contact : Shulamith Koenig TDC:
American Support for the Advancement of Civil Liberties in Israel (A.S.A.C. Inc).
The Social Development Committee of Haifa, 1 Abbas St., P.O. Box 4454, Haifa, Israel, T: 04-534152 Programs : Arab nursery
schools; Arab community centers for underprivileged youth with volunteer teachers; Joint Arab-Jewish Day Camp in Haifa.
Teachers attend Mar'i's training program. TDC: Checks made out to New Israel Fund sent to above address. Contact : Hussein
The United Holy Land Fund, P.O. Box 1981, Chicago, IL. 60690, T: (312) 663-9056 Program : Since 1968 this nonprofit, nonpoliti-
cal, nonpartisan, humanitarian organization has been rendering assistance to Palestinian social, health, and educational institutions
in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Lebanon. Among the many programs the UHLF administers are: the children's sponsorship
program (Project Loving Care, Jerusalem and Lebanon) where a contribution of $20 per month sponsors a child; 300 scholarships
for vocational training (many are women oriented); 200 scholarships for university students; nurseries and kindergartens in the
West Bank, Gaza, in the Arab Triangle and Galilee. It assists the Palestine Red Crescent Society financially as well as with medical
supplies and equipment. For more information contact them. Contact : Suhail Miari TDC: United Holy Land Fund. Contribu-
tions may be earmarked for specified programs.
The Van Leer Jerusalem Foundation Albert Einstein Sq., P.O. Box 4070, Jerusalem 91040, Israel, T: 02-667141 Program : An
independent social and policy studies institute, the Foundation organizes research, educational projects, and conferences devoted
to pluralism and democracy. The emphasis is on Jewish-Arab and Israeli-Arab relations. Contact : Alouph Hareven. TDC: New
Yesh Gvul (There is a border), P.O. Box 4172, Tel Aviv, Israel. Program : Founded in 1982 as a support group for soldiers
refusing to serve in Lebanon, Yesh Gvul is concerned with the philosophical question of the general limits of obedience, particu-
larly as that currently relates to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Contact : Robert Banvolgyi Ph. 02-520825 (h) 02-221424 (w),
Yeshi Menuchin T: 02-414829 Friends of Yesh Gvul, 1678 Shattuck Ave., P.O. Box 6, Berkeley, CA 94709 (415) 848-9391. TDC:
Send checks made out to NjA/Friends of Yesh Gvul to the above address.
TDK = tax deductible contribution
Additional Recommended Books
Barbara B. Jenkins
Avnery, Uri. My Friend, the Enemy. Westport, Conn., Lawrence Hill & Co., 1986.
Documents years of dialogue between Israelis and PLO.
Can the Palestinian Problem be Solved? Israeli Positions. Edited by Alouph Hareven. Jerusalem, Van Leer Jerusalem
Carter, Jimmy. The Blood of Abraham: Insights into the Middle East. Boston, Mass., Houghton Mifflin Co., 1985.
Eisler, Riane. The Chalice and the Blade. New York, Harper and Row, 1987.
El Saadawi, Nawal. The Hidden Face of Eve: Women in the Arab World. Boston, Mass., Beacon Press, 1982.
Elon, Amos. The Israelis: Founders and Sons. New York, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1971.
Hapan, Simha. The Birth of Israel: Myths and Realities. New York, Pantheon Books, 1987.
Grossman, David. The Yellow Wind. New York, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1988.
Recent interviews with Palestinians.
Henry, Sondra & Taitz, Emily. Written Out of History: Our Jewish Foremothers. Fresh Meadows, N.Y., Biblio Press,
Second Edition, 1983.
Kurzman, Dan. Ben-Gurion: Prophet of Fire. New York, Touchstone Book, 1983.
Laqueur, Walter. A History of Zionism. New York, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1972.
Lustik, Ian. Arabs in the Jewish State: Israel's Control of a National Minority. Austin, University of Texas Press, 1980.
Meir, Golda. My Life. New York, G. P. Putman's Sons, 1975.
Miari, Samir. The Arabs in Israel: A National Minority and Cheap Labor Force: A Split Labor Market Analysis. Unpub-
lished Doctoral Dissertation, Loyola University of Chicago, 1986.
Oz, Amos. In the land of Israel. San Diego, Calif., Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1983.
Shehadeh, Raja. Samed: Journal of a West Bank Palestinian. New York, Adama Books, 1984.
Shipler, David K. Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits in the Promised Land. New York, Times Books, 1986.
Shulamith Koenig commanded the Jerusalem area women's corps of the Israeli Army
during the War of Independence at age 19. She is an industrial engineer, sculptor, and
political activist. She was Secretary General of Ratz (Citizen Rights Movement) Party for six
years, and was one of the founders of Peace Now. Now living in the United States she
divides her time between sculpting and running a tax exempt organization, American
Support for the Advancement of Civil Liberties in Israel which supports education and
litigation for human rights violations and civil liberties in Israel and the Occupied Territo-
ries. ASAC works in Israel with prominent human rights lawyers and former judges, and
provides information in the United States. She initiated a Palestinian- Israeli art exhibition
which recognizes a two-state solution. It opens in mid October at Cooper Union in New
York and will tour U.S. cities during 1989. BBJ
"There is always hope", 34 ' x 48" x 28"
"Shall we talk about peace", 42" x 36" x 14"
"Iwas born in East Jerusalem in the old Haddassah
Hospital in a land saturated with historic memory and
a search for human dignity. Social responsibility as the
highest challenge was handed to me by my parents, —
a litmus test of being a Jew. This inheritance engulfed
my life and turned into a passion, a commitment and
a moral obligation. It is this energy that works its way
through my sculpture in which I try to revive found
objects searching for meaning.
I tried to create cross-fertilization between functional
forms, color and abstract images.
I work at integrating poetic expression and social
consciousness into an object of art, through which a
spiritual dimension can be shared".
ARTS AND CULTURE
WHAT ECCLESIASTES MEANT
ON THE FUNCTION OF DREAMS
"That which has been is that which shall be;
and that which has been done is that which
shall be done: and there is nothing new under
— Ecclesiastes 1 :9
Though I have never been kidnapped, I have
If not, how do I know what goes through the
mind of a hostage, what a hostage thinks when
the black blindfold is lifted from her eyes and for
the first time she stands face to face with her
kidnappers, what she sees before her eyes in
those hours when they torture her, or worse,
during the endless hours of waiting?
I knew I was a likely candidate for kidnapping.
That's why I ran away.
I climbed up sand hills, I ran and ran. In the
open streets I slowed down, bent low, crawled,
flattened myself against the walls of ruined
buildings, so the terrorists' fire wouldn't reach
my ears. I was so afraid they would get me that
I suspected everyone, especially those walking
behind me, thought they were only there to trap
me, to finally fulfill my destiny as a hostage.
I did all I could to escape. To no end. Like a rat,
I was trapped.
I was kidnapped in a plane, I was caught on the
street, I was stolen at night, near the Western
Wall, in Beirut, in the territorial waters of Leba-
non, at Heathrow Airport.
My first kidnappers only wanted to shoot me;
later ones had other goals.
As in professional kidnappings, they covered my
eyes with a black cloth, as if those whose eyes
are covered don't see the world, as if those
whose eyes are free can see it.
Like Abraham dragging Isaac into the Land of
Moriah, they dragged me to the public square for
some sacred purpose. After all, you don't kid-
nap people just like that.
Perhaps I was kidnapped for the benefit of the
disadvantaged, so that the unemployed would
have jobs. Maybe my kidnappers wanted to fly
the Palestinian flag on the world map, to write
their organization into history, to shatter the
apathy of the White House. In any case, I was
kidnapped in the name of some ideology, or the-
ology, maybe astrology. And maybe it was even
for my own sake, for the homeland, that I was
In some mysterious way, as if the news had been
leaked to the press, people massed in the square
to see the performance, and to see what would
be done to me. What amazed me more than the
general consent to kidnap me was seeing them
all prepared to injure me.
What are my parents doing there?
To carry out their obligation, and as quickly as
possible, they stripped me, but I was not
ashamed of my nakedness. Their desire to cut
my flesh was seeping deep inside me, and my
exposed shoulders were ready for the knife. I
could almost feel the touch of the blade on my
skin, the burst of cold air, the piercing rays of the
eyes that combed my body. A light stinging,
really, barely touching, but everywhere.
My father, a bit embarrassed, gave up quickly
Although I understood his confusion, I was very
angry with him for not objecting, not setting up
an underground, not trying to save me, his
daughter, his only daughter.
My mother, always one to get things done, was
holding a knife in her hand to slice a little of my
flesh, her flesh. I didn't resist. I knew that no
righteous man would arrive on the scene a
moment before the cutting, no Abraham would
show up on his donkey, and no lamb be pro-
vided for the offering.
So let her cut, I thought, and it was clear to me
as well that the deed had to be done as quickly
as possible. But I wanted to shout and to wail
and to plead for the integrity of my body, that
mother not cut into my living flesh, that she not
pierce my exposed shoulders, not hurt the sensi-
tive spots. I wanted to pray, to kneel, to cry.
Mother, don't do this to me, I almost shouted,
and sealed my lips, no tears collecting at the
corners of my eyes, not a single muscle twitch-
Perhaps because I wasn't there, but, as the Satans
and Liliths are wont to do, watched the cere-
mony from another place, wondered, passed
from illusion to illusion, understood the kidnap-
pers' motives and knew that I would do the
same, were I in their place.
I recall another kidnapping now. For I've been
kidnapped for as long as I can remember. A
hostage, daughter of a hostage. My mother, too,
was kidnapped once, when I was a little girl.
The Snow Queen swept her off, with Kay and
with the storm. But I, unlike Gerda, did not run
after my mother, did not look for her, only cried.
How I cried. My crying alerted the neighbors,
and I told them that the storm had kidnapped
my mother. And as I wailed and gave them the
details of the kidnapping, mother returned,
carrying baskets full of chickens and vegetables.
Perhaps the Snow Queen had had a change of
Not only mother was kidnapped. In our family,
kidnapping is inherited. I too was kidnapped
then. Two people put me, a little girl, into a big
burlap sack and tied it with a black ribbon.
From outside, or maybe from inside the sack,
through the holes in the cloth, I saw how they
dragged me all the way down the yellow corri-
dors of my childhood, and even then, though it
was my first kidnapping, the feeling was famil-
iar. Maybe that's what Ecclesiastes meant when
he said "There is nothing new under the sun."
Because I have experienced all and undergone
everything, and I have a right and even a duty to
justify every evil and any cut in the living flesh.
And just as I was kidnapped and numbered
among the victims, so did I kidnap and kill and
also take possession, and for all this the dreams
must take the blame, for allowing me to observe
what I was doing from a distance. Like God
looking down on His creatures, like a demon or
the Devil, I wink behind my shoulders at what is
done to me.
The dreams have accustomed me to regard the
world with apathy and to see what happens in
the jails and the mental hospitals, to watch a
youth shot on the West Bank and a woman on
the pyre in India (she must have dreamt about
it), and continue to live my life and dream my
dreams, for I've already been called to account
for it all, and paid the price, and I washed my
hands in dreams. It is they that recorded in me
what was and what will be under the sun.
But the dreams speak falsehood.
Esther Wierzbicki-Ziv was born in 1947 in Silesia, Poland, in
the aftermath of the Second World War. In 1957 her family
immigrated to Israel. Following army service she studied
comparative literature and philosophy at Tel Aviv Univer-
sity. She has taught literature in high school and edited for
the afternoon daily Ma'ariv.
Since 1985 Ziv has concentrated on writing prose. The story
"What Ecclesiastes Meant" is from the collection The Tumult
of Shimeck's Death, soon to be published in Hebrew. She has
also written a gestalt play called The Name That Will Protect
Me in the Next Holocaust.
She and her son live in Jerusalem.
(Translation from the Hebrew by Marsha Pomerantz)
WaveA in the. d<n>QAX
Mo6cuc6 in the. 6and
SzaAcking faon. the. hand
Looking fan. a cjiiut
U//10 mold tfeed the Vuitli
Tq tiiz pozt in the duAt?
AND I AM AS A FRESH OLIVE TREE IN THE HOUSE OF THE LORD
Miri put on yellow pants that she had bought in
Jerusalem; they made her look like an inverted
mushroom. Miri chattered and laughed and her
sister said to me, "She will listen to you, tell her.
That, after all, is what cousins are for." I replied,
"What is good for us is not always good for
I thought of their mother who had eaten a prune
and swallowed the stone and needed an opera-
tion. The sight of Aunt Sarah lying in the oper-
ating-theatre with all her guts exposed and the
surgeons hunting among them for the stone
sealed the fate of my daughter who decided that
she really did not want to become a doctor.
Fateful decisions have come about for lesser
reasons than a prune-stone.
After the operation Aunt Sarah did not return
home. She lay in the hospital a long time as the
wound was slow to heal. Afterward, she was
sent to a convalescent home, and from there she
was transferred to a geriatric institution. And
there, after long years of anger, suffering and re-
sentment, she again found contentment.
Her daughters tried to explain to her where she
was and when but did not succeed in reaching
her. They brought her sons-in-law who spoke
slowly and loudly as if she had gone deaf. They
brought her the grandsons, who had been
drafted, before they left so that they could also
bring the great-grandchildren. She smiled at
them all a sweet smile, her skin pink, her
wrinkles gone. She asked suddenly about Reb
Shmelke, although there was nobody left who
could even tell us who he was.
Her forgetfulness upset her daughters particu-
larly, because, if she forgot them, then they were
not the most important people in their mother's
life. But I thought that the years in Bergen-
Belsen had been wiped away, as well as fifty
years of a bad marriage, and other things that
turned her into an old woman with memories.
My Aunt Sarah was not a wise woman. She was
a foolish child and as time passed she became a
foolish old woman, as is usually the case. I don't
believe that old age gives wisdom to people,
perhaps a little caution. If she had been cau-
tious, she would not have swallowed the stone.
She would have been deprived of one year in her
life in which she gained peace of mind.
She enjoyed sitting in the garden, listening to the
wind stirring the leaves of the trees and watch-
ing the changing shapes of the shadows cast
through the window. She did other things
characteristic of Chinese sages. Her happiness
sprang from within herself, unconnected to the
happiness of the people around her. Her daugh-
ters wanted to bring her back to reality. They
thought that it would help her to learn some
hobby, dominoes or pottery. The grandsons,
who had returned from Beirut, asked what was
the point, if life was good for her like this, be-
cause she looked to them very old and living
only in the present.
And while the debate was still going on Aunt
Sarah passed away as she sat on the commode
facing the white tiles in the bathroom. What she
saw on the wall we don't know. She died with a
smile on her face. Miri said that what made her
happy would not have made anyone else happy.
Miri went to Jerusalem and bought herself those
Translated from Hebrew by Philip Simpson
Shulamit Lapid has served in the Israeli Embassies in Paris
and London, and is the author of books of short stories,
novels and plays, published in Hebrew, French, and English.
She lives in Tel-Aviv.
FOUR POEMS BY ADA AHARONI
— - . . -
GRANDMOTHER AND THE WOLF
Dedicated to Ebba Haslund
my sister from Norway
She looked at me with wise
and told me Grimm
had it all wrong
for it was the grandmother
who gobbled up the bad wolf
and not the other way round.
He had it all wrong,
for grandmothers you see
are very strong.
THIS CURSED WAR
(From An Israeli Soldier's Yom Kippur War
The night creeps long
darkens. Memories rush
Blossoming list of dead
Every name pins mind
With whizzing missiles,
Cursed, cursed war
In jeep on Golan Heights
loneliest I have ever been,
I watch skeletons of tanks
Crowned with names of friends.
Sinister row, black graves
fresh bodies - old smell.
Cursed, cursed war
It doesn't look at all like wars in films this war,
Here we do not get a chance to shoot, or wave a
Shrieking shells, hyena lightning
Pour on us, and we run backwards
Or to the side,
And some are saved
and some are not,
Not all, not always
But always cursing,
This cursed, cursed war
In an English centurion
Holding Belgian guns,
We watch two American-made airplanes
Shot down by Russian-made missiles.
I cannot hate the Syrian on the other side
Who holds a French gun and shoots Soviet Sams;
We are toy soldiers of shopkeepers
Who want to sell —
Selling us, in this
Cursed, cursed war
God, let it stop, let it end,
Let the nightmare end!
Cursing is the only shelter
We can creep into, not to crumble
Before thoughts in the dark.
Cursed are those who force me to be here
Cursed be this cursed war!
I wait for the day
blossoming as a mimosa,
when half the world's presidents
will be women
with hair flowing cosily
around every cry.
And the sun will shine
on all mortals
with equal golden rays
in every green field,
every printed book
every human look.
WHAT IS PEACE TO ME?
Peace for me is a flowing golden river,
students fresh from school
full of pockets of hope
Not after they witnessed
their friends' brains
blown white veined
on the sands, still thinking.
Peace for me
is to visit
Kadreya in Egypt, and
the spicy house in Midan Ismaileya in Cairo
now the Square of Freedom,
where I was bom, and evicted.
To place again my open palm
on the Sphinx's paw,
and check if now I'm as tall
as a Pyramid stone.
Peace for me
is all this,
and so much more —
when I look at you our golden children
and feel the fifth war
pinching the center of my heart.
Dr. Ada Aharoni will be visiting scholar in the De-
partment of English at the University of Toronto in
the early autumn and then will teach comparative
literature at the Sorbonne in Paris. Her book on
Saul Bellow: To Haifa and Back is being published
by SUNY. She has published books of poems,
From the Pyramids to Mount Carmel and Metal and
Violets, and a novel, The Second Exodus which com-
bines her experiences with those of other Jews
leaving Egypt at the time of Statehood. She
integrates pacifism and feminism in her poetry
with strong images that challenge and enrich our
She has been vitally involved in peace work in
HaGesher, The Bridge, an organization of Jewish
and Arab women for coexistence and peace.
A DREAM COME TRUE
Magdalena Hafez is a potter who has a coffee shop, pottery
shop, and studio together near the old city of Jerusalem.
You can see pottery beautifully displayed as you have soup
or pastry on ceramic tables which she designed or you can
take your coffee upstairs, as I did, and watch her work. She
works very hard and seriously on her pottery, noting in her
notebook the results of each of her firings so as to constantly
learn from experiments and fortuitous events. She is also
very active in peace/dialogue groups and in women's
groups that deal with domestic violence. She is president of
the professional group for potters in Israel. Representing
the immense variety of backgrounds I found in the women
of Israel, Magdalena is the daughter of a German Protestant
clergyman, is married to an Israeli Jew, and has a daugher
in the Israeli Army. I interviewed Magdalena in her studio/
shop in Jerusalem, recording our conversation on audio
tape. Her words which follow have been edited from her
answers to my questions. BBJ
The idea of a combined studio, pottery shop and
coffeehouse is a very old dream of mine. I
thought of it when I was young, just starting to
do pottery. It took over twenty years because I
wanted to have the shop, coffee shop, and work-
shop together in the center of town. But in the
center of town they never had the industrial elec-
tricity which was needed to run the tractor-sized
pottery wheels we used to have. Today, we have
small pottery wheels which run on normal
current. Also, there are better insulating materi-
als, so it is possible to fit the kiln and wheel in
an affordable space in the center of town. There
are also more customers in the center of town. I
hate it when I go to galleries and shows where I
want to have a leisurely look, sit down, and take
my time — not just look and then have to go. So I
decided to create such a space.
I did it two years ago when the children grew up
and we could have a smaller house. We sold the
second floor of our house and with the money
we bought this two-story building. We didn't
have to borrow money to do it. Other potters
and artists/crafts people have now opened
studios together with shops in the center of town
so artists are no longer isolated in their studios.
We now have maybe three places in Jerusalem,
but there is nothing like this in Haifa or Tel
Aviv. And no one has a place like mine. This is
unique. It's easier and much nicer. Now, every-
thing that comes from the kiln goes downstairs
to the shop, where everybody looks at it. It's
good to hear the praise of the people who like
my work. Here, I get more feedback on my
work instead of placing it in the galleries and ex-
hibitions. I still sell to galleries and to other
shops , but most of the work I do here I sell in the
This area was as central as we could get. It was
old and run down on the edge of the center of
the city which is a couple of blocks from the old
city. After we started here — my husband runs
the restaurant — we attracted others. A woman
who weaves and knits is next door. Slowly, the
street has been developing. A Russian restaurant
opened and we have a gallery upstairs. So the
street has developed nicely, there is much move-
The exhibition I am working on now is based on
inspirations from Greece and raku, which is a
special ceramic firing technique from Japan. I've
worked quite a lot with it in recent years and I
love it very much. I'm almost ready to do an
exhibition with just the pots with beautiful
glazes. Last year I was in Greece for two weeks.
It was from my visit there that I got the theme
and the inspiration for this exhibition. When I
translate life into ceramic and raku, I take it a bit
less seriously. A sense of humor is important. I
have columns, like a lot of trees all different, big,
small, heavy ones, tall, all different kinds, and on
top of the capital there are little people that are
The sketches come out very funny. I think life is
serious enough so I want to do something not so
serious. I do big bowls like the Mediterranean
Sea and I put little islands inside. All these are
inspirations from Greece. I expected to see a lot
of seafood. But, when I went to Greece, there
was no seafood. Meat is much cheaper there.
They have stands on the street where one buys
and eats shashlik like we eat falafil here. It is a
daily food and so I do big plates with shashlik
on them. Since the seafood was just in my
imagination, I do imaginary fish aquariums, with
a lot of imaginary fishes and put them around,
hanging them from iron posts. These are not
real fishes because they were just in my imagina-
tion about the seafood I expected to find there.
The real seafood that I saw in Greece was very
expensive but not very good. The other inspira-
tions which will be part of the exhibit will be
archeological pieces, mountains with ruins on
top and the big egg-head people. The Greek
people once had very big heads. So I do very
big egg heads, the great, old Greek people. And
In the shop, there are some large bowls with
sunbathers around a swimming pool. They are
old things that I started doing six years ago, but I
still do them — I love them very much. It was my
first way out, after more than twenty years of
doing dishes and mugs, I wanted to do other
things. It's very hard to get away from using the
wheel. A lot of potters leave the wheel, they
have very good hands, but if they don't have the
minds, the things they make come out just
kitsch. At first, instead of doing big, awkward
things, I started with small funny things. I put
all my little dreams in a bowl, made on the
wheel. So I kept the wheel, I didn't disturb the
surroundings from the wheel. I didn't disturb
the bowl. I put little children in the bowl.
They're sitting and talking or throwing stones,
but nobody gets hurt. There are people walking
in the woods without being afraid. It is some-
thing of a paradox. When you are a child (or
when I was a child), I was afraid of a lot of
things. Other things frighten me today.
So I put the things in the bowls. I don't know if
you have a word in English, that the world is
still okay. I see all the problems around in my
work with battered women in Jerusalem and my
work in Arab and Jewish joint projects. It's not
that I close my eyes and think everything is
beautiful and nice. One can put oneself in a
place in imagination where it's okay. My bowls
reflect my little dreams. These bowls, you can
put them on the table, you can hang them on the
Also I did an exhibition with drawers, every-
thing got a drawer. It was also a transition step
from one phase to another, so I made everything
that I had made to that point with a drawer, e.g.,
the pomegranates, the egg box, a circus tent,
everything got a box. A lot of tourists are com-
ing to Israel, looking around and saying, "beauti-
ful landscape, beautiful this and beautiful that,
nice people," but they don't see anything that's
going on here really.
They say, "How beautiful is the Negev, how
beautiful is the desert" and just three kilometers
away they are passing the most awful jail. No-
body even looks at it or even the special old
stones with the trees and cacti. Many times I
heard from people, "It's so beautiful the old
sabra cacti and the old stones" I want to tell
them: You have to open a door and there you
find something. It's not just a beautiful land-
scape — it is the remains of an Arab village
bulldozed by the Israelis. You have to look more
You can open it and close it; you can put some-
thing in it and you can take something out. You
can forget it for the next century, then you can
open it again, you can find it by accident. If you
open it when you are cleaning, or looking for
something else, you find something. I like this. I
like boxes. I like drawers... There's a landscape
and there's a drawer so you have to look more.
You could see what's inside or what's behind the
Magdalena at work
in her studio.
My next show opens in the middle of September
(1987). I'm also going to be an officer in a ce-
ramic organization. I have to take it over be-
cause the old man who started it is too old. He
began the association 25 years ago. As time
went by, everything went down a little bit, a lot
of people dropped it, so now, I have to take it
and develop it in the right direction. Now I'm
very busy because I have to learn all the mate-
rial. We are on a jury for the group exhibition so
we are looking forward to doing a lot of group
exhibitions on different themes. The themes will
illustrate all the different techniques that all the
artists are working on. We have the exhibitions
every half year, because a lot of ceramists in this
country cannot do one-man or one-woman
shows. We also have to look for different galler-
ies. We now have six different places where we
can have the shows and a plan for the next three
years. Everybody can work on a special theme
that's close to her whether in two-dimensions or
three-dimensions, painting on three-dimensional
objects, or a tea service, ceramics for the garden,
architecture things, using special techniques as
inspiration. So I hope that we will bring the
quality up again, and also the group work and
that there will be more teamwork.
This is very important because I think that when
the quality of the association goes up we can get
a center for the potters association. Right now
we don't have a center. We will be more profes-
sional and get a professional administration, and
this can come after we improve the quality. So
that's the project for the next three years.
Since I have had the workshop over the coffee-
house a lot of potters come to me and ask for
advice. I can see the whole line of their work
and they can see what is new of mine. It's very
rewarding that they are coming and asking. I
like to give information because I think that
everybody can get something, maybe a more
interesting idea or a completely new idea so it's
good for them and I learn from it too.
This exchange helps all of us. I think it's very
good to help each other and to be open with the
material and with the experience. Maybe this
attitude comes from the time I taught for five
years in the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design
(the finest art school in Israel) which was a time
that I liked to see the continuity of other people's
work. I also think that it is very good feedback:
"I got this from Magdalena, I got that from
Magdalena." It's much better than to keep
everything for yourself.
women work. Maybe it's something in the
character of the women. I'm not sure about it. I
think that mothers sit much more with the
children, explaining how things work, more than
the fathers. There are many more women pot-
ters around than men potters. In Israel also most
of the teachers are women and not men. Because
of low salary no men will go and study educa-
tion to become teachers. The money he would
bring home cannot support a whole family. It's
the second salary in the family, so the woman
teaches. And she's at home in the middle of the
day when the children come home. All the other
professions you have to work until three or five
o'clock in the afternoon. Nothing is arranged
here for families so that women can be equal at
work. Also the same happens with potters.
Ceramics and pottery is very strenuous work
physically so men and boys are better suited but
very few men choose this field. You have to
invest so much time. Until you sell something
and you see the money it's nothing. So only
women, maybe, can play with it. It's a salary by
the side, it's a profession by the side. I think
those are two points that explain why so many
women are potters and not men.
Ten people can do much more than one person
by herself alone, if she has this open mind or this
way of thinking. Also with the raku I work with
other potters. And we never would work to-
gether if I didn't push in this direction. Now
with two other potters we have built two kilns in
Israel. It's a different way and attitude. I see
how it works and I think it is very good.
This kind of sharing and working together, with
less competition, tends to be typical of the way
Ruins atop mountains, columns, eggheads
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Ginat, Joseph. Women in Muslim rural society: Status and role in family and community. New Brunswick, N.J., Transaction Books, 1982.
A study of the social conditions of the rural Muslim women in Israel.
Graham-Brown, Sarah. Images of women: the portrayal of women in photography of the Middle East, 1860-1950. London, Quartet, 1988.
(This book would compliment the Waagenaar title.)
Hazelton, Lesley. Israeli women: The reality behind the myths. New York, Simon and Schuster, 1977.
Layish, Aharon. Marriage, divorce and succession in the Druze family: a study based on decisions of Druze arbitrators and religious courts in Israel and the
Golan Heights. Leiden, Brill, 1982.
Layish, Aharon. Women and Islamic law in a non-Muslim state: a study based on decisions of the shark courts in Israel. New York, Wiley, 1975.
The legal status of women is considered from the point of view of religious and legal court decisions.
Lytle, Elizabeth Edith. Women in Israel: a selected bibliography. Monhcello, 111., Vance Bibliographies, 1979.
Mihayl, Marion. The changing status of women in the Middle East. Greeley, Colorado, Colorado State College, Museum of Anthropology, 1969.
Minai, Naila. Women in Islam: tradition and transition in the Middle East._ New York, Seaview Boos, 1981.
(An overview of the changing role of Muslim women?)
Rein, Natalie. Daughters of Rachel: Women in Israel. New York, Penguin, 1980.
Considers the social conditions of women in Israel.
Sexual equality, the Israeli kibbutz tests the theories, (by) Michal Palgi... (et al); with the assistance of Lucy Maloney Jones and Susan Lyn Sklar;
preface by Betty Friedan. Norwood, Penn., Norwood Editions, 1983.
Spiro, Melford E. Gender and culture: kibbutz women revisited. New York, Schocken Books, 1980.
Stendel, Ori. The minorities in Israel: trends in the development of the Arab and Druze communities, 1948-1973. Jerusalem, Israel Economist, 1973.
Stern, Geraldine. Israeli women speak out. Philadelphia, Lippincott, 1979.
A collection of biographies.
Tiger, Lionel. Women in the kibbutz. New York, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1975.
Waagenaar, Sam. Women of Israel. New York, Schocken Books, 1961.
Photographs of the women of Israel.
Women and the family in the Middle East: new voices of change. Edited by Elizabeth Warnock Fernea. Austin, University of Texas Press, 1984.
Women's worlds, from the new scholarship. Edited by Marilyn Safir... (et al); in cooperation with the Society for the Psychological Study of Social
Issues. New York, Praeger, 1985.
Yuval-Davis, Nira. Israeli women and men: divisions behind the unity. London, Change International Reports, 1982.
Zamir, Aviva. Mothers and daughters: interviews with kibbutz women. Norwood, Penn., Norwood Editions, 1986.
Barbara Conant is I lead, Education and Materials Center, University Library at Governors State University.
EDITOR ■ S COL UMN
A soviet journalist, looking through a copy of
this magazine, stopped at the announcement of
future issues to ask (with what I imagined to be
a touch of suspicion) "Why are you doing a spe-
cial issue on Israel?" (Was she feeling for the
political slant that we might represent?) "I have
a colleague," I told her through our interpreter,
"an American professor of psychology, Barbara
Jenkins, who is a Jew and who spent her sabbati-
cal leave in Jerusalem. While there she became
aware of the complexity of the issues faced by
the peoples of the Middle East and of the great
diversity of opinions and perspectives as well as
the vast ethnic and religious and cultural variety.
She also discovered that she did not always
agree with or admire the actions of the Knesset
and that she sometimes sympathized with the
Palestinians. Our magazine is interested in
women and we try to understand them as clearly
as we can, to present them as honestly as we can,
and to respect and celebrate them."
This seemed to satisfy her, although the true
results of my Russian journey will only be
known when the articles that have been prom-
ised begin to come in, for it is in the arduous
process of hammering out an issue that commu-
nication gets firmly grounded and true mutual
understanding begins to grow.
Fifteen days in May is not long to take a measure
of any country, far less one as immense as the
Soviet Union, with ten time zones stretching
across its seven thousand miles from Europe to
the Pacific Ocean. Nevertheless, a few impres-
sions from this eager and curious traveler:
The sight of birch groves that surround the
airport surprise the first time visitor: whole
forests, nothing but graceful white birch trees,
they evoke immediately some old associations.
What? a tenor singing a haunting folk song on
an old record from World War II by the Red
Army Chorus? The woods are quiet and deep.
The second surprise is that the streets are broad
and empty. To be approaching one of the great
world capitals, Moscow, in late evening, along a
deserted boulevard, feels eerie.
At the same time, I felt a deep throb of turbulent
energy. This is a nation in such rapid flux that
the surface quiet is misleading, for it is only the
appearance of calm while underneath there is a
process going on that is almost a convulsion.
A few quotations from Mikhail Gorbachev are
needed here. We Americans saw lots of photo-
graphs of the President and Mrs. Reagan in
Russia, we heard many fragments of his words. .
but we might have been better served if the
networks had seen fit to give us more of what
we don't already know — in other words, more
information and direct coverage of the Gor-
bachev revolution that goes by the names of
perestroika (restructuring) and glasnost (open-
I picked up an English-language pamphlet in an
airport waiting room in Uzbekistan, "Using the
Potential of Cooperatives for Furthering Per-
estroika" by Mikhail Gorbachev. This was a
speech he gave to the 4th AU-Union Congress of
Collective Farmers on March 23, 1988.
Perestroika is to become a real and effec-
tive force for moving society to a qualita-
tively new state, a force which gives full
freedom to human initiative and activity.
Everything we are doing today opens up a
wide expanse for every person, making it
possible for him to reveal all his talents,
gifts and abilities, to show ingenuity and
resourcefulness in a creative way.
As regards cooperatives, comrades, admin-
istrative methods are against their very
nature. Commanding them about, issuing
peremptory instructions, and introducing
ill-considered bans can only dry up and
over-organize the business, ultimately com-
promising or even destroying it altogether.
First, we should irreversibly switch all
elements of the agroindustrial complex to
profit-and-loss accounting, self-repayment,
self-financing and economic methods of
management. We should learn to take
stock of the resources and use them effi-
ciently. Any income should be earned.
Second. It is essential to change priorities.
Priorities in spending should be allocated
to roads and transport, storage facilities
and packaging, processing and distribu-
tion, and to the rationalization of consump-
tion. We simply cannot lose if we invest in
housing, social and cultural establishments
and in training and upgrading skills.
In short, what is proposed is not just some
patching up or tinkering with the economic and
political system; what is proposed is a far-rang-
ing thorough going revolution. It is a truly
remarkable historical event. As one of our
Russian acquaintances remarked, "He is the first
intelligent and educated leader we've had since
Lenin." The intellectuals, the professionals, the
artists, applaud the reforms, and seem to feel
breathless with eagerness. Change in the direc-
tion of artistic and intellectual freedom cannot
come fast enough for them, it would seem.
Some go "too far" or "too fast" and get cut back.
At the same time, old party conservatives, ap-
paratchiks who assumed that their appointments
were for life, are threatened and resistant. As for
factory workers and other proletarian citizens,
they are too tired and harried to care for remote
promises (what they want now is more con-
sumer goods and services, better housing, more
readily available food supplies) and the intellec-
tual ferment misses them, too, for as Yevtush-
enko said in his televised interview, "Freedom of
speech means nothing to a person who has
nothing to say."
The distance from the old dogmas and rhetoric
of Marxism to Gorbachev's contemporary
thought is staggering.
After returning home I received from Soviet Life
the documents and materials of the USSR-USA
Summit in Moscow, May 29 - June 2, 1988, con-
taining all the formal speeches, answers to press
Moscow, May 29 -June 2, 1988
questions, and informal comments during the
walks about the Kremlin and Red Square.
Again, here are some quotations from General
Secretary Gorbachev on the subjects of arms
control, international interdependence, and
I cannot agree with those who think that
there is no point in striving for a nuclear-
A peaceful future for mankind can be
guaranteed not by "nuclear deterrance,"
but by a balance of reason and goodwill
and by a system of universal security.
And it is here that we would like to stress
the significance of the truth we have
awoken to, namely that it is no longer
possible to settle international disputes by
force of arms.
As far as we know, most Americans, just
like us, are eager to get rid of the demon of
nuclear war. But they are increasingly con-
cerned, just like us and like all the people
on Earth, about the danger of an ecological
catastrophe. This threat, too, can only be
warded off by joint effort.
Yes, all of us really do understand our
dependence on one another better and feel
that we live in an interrelated world and
that all of us are inseparable parts of the
single present-day civilization.
For the sake of our mutual understanding,
please do not try to teach us to live accord-
ing to American rules — it is altogether
useless. And I repeat that, for our part, we
do not intend to suggest our values to the
Let each side live in its own way, respect-
ing each other's choice and voluntarily
exchanging the fruits of our labor in all the
spheres of human activity.
As for glasnost, it and freedom of speech
are, of course, interconnected. However,
these are not identical things. I would put
it this way: while freedom of speech is
indispensable for glasnost, we see glasnost
as a broader phenomenon. For us it is not
just the right of every citizen to openly say
what he or she thinks about all social and
political questions, but also the duty of the
ruling Party and all bodies of authority and
administration to ensure openness in
decision-making, be accountable for their
actions, act on criticism, and consider
advice and recommendations from the
shop floor, public organizations and indi-
Glasnost, as we see it, accentuates an
environment allowing citizens to effectively
participate in discussing all of the country's
affairs, in elaborating and making decisions
that affect the interests of society and in
monitoring the implementation of these
We are ready to work. We don't want to
waste any time. We shall continue to
work. It's up to the US side.
Will this bold and brave revolution succeed? The
General Secretary remarks that he is steering his
ship of state through stormy seas, and we believe
it. The obstacles, within his party and his people
are formidable. As Saul Bellow says, "The princi-
pal characteristic of our existence is suspense.
Nobody-nobody at all knows how it will end."
Both of the publications cited are available from
the Novosti Press Publishing House, 1706 18th
Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20009
Winter 1989 Women in Management- Guest Editor
Spring-Summer 1989 Women in Photography
Guest Editor Patricia Gardner
Fall 1989 Empowering Women of Color- Guest
Editor Loretta J. Ross
Winter 1990 Soviet Women- Guest Editor Sharon
Spring- Summer 1990- GAIA- Re weaving the
Web of Life. (Guest Editor sought)
Footnotes and references cited in the article by
Barbara Wallston in our previous issue (Vol. 9,
No. 1) were inadvertently omitted. Readers who
wish to examine them may write to the editorial
office of this magazine for a complete list. We
regret this oversight.
Tikkun (te*kiin) . . .
to heal, repair and transform the world.
All the rest is commentary.
Tikkun, A bimonthly Jewish Critique of Politics, Culture and Society, Oakland, CA.
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